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Fortuna forges semis duel vs Ikeda in ICTSI Match Play

SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Mikha Fortuna surged closer to a dream pro breakthrough, dispatching Korean Seoyun Kim, 5&4, in tough conditions to barge into the semifinals of the ICTSI The Country Club Match Play Invitational at the TCC course here Wednesday.

The relentless wind added a challenging element to the match but Fortuna’s early display of prowess, marked by a precise drive on the first hole leading to a regulation par and a 1-up advantage, set the tone for her dominance.

A day after booting out top seed and defending champion Harmie Constantino, 5&3, Fortuna kept her composure throughout the match, exercising self-restraint to dominate and claim the victory that lined her up against Chihiro Ikeda in Thursday’s semifinals of the P1.5-million event put up by ICTSI.

The multi-titled Ikeda pounced on Pamela Mariano’s frontside struggles then held sway at the back to pound out a 2&1 decision in the upper half of the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour draw following an 8&7 cruise over Eva Miñoza Tuesday.

While Fortuna moved within two wins to achieve a coveted result, amateur Laurea Duque carved out her own path to victory, edging Apple Fudolin on the last hole to annex a 2-up victory after shocking No. 2 Florence Bisera, 1-up, in the Round of 16.

Duque’s pursuit of golfing glory continues as she faces Gretchen Villacencio in their side of the semis face-off after the latter outlasted Sarah Ababa in a tense battle that went down to the 18th hole for a 1-up victory. Villacencio earlier toppled Christine Fleetwood, 2-up.

Despite her convincing triumph, Fortuna acknowledged the tests posed by the demanding conditions and Kim’s persistent threat.

“It’s kind of hard at the start, not getting what I was expecting so I stayed patient, took one shot at a time,” said Fortuna, who has had a couple of title cracks for a first LPGT win but fell short in the final round in both occasions. “It’s easy to get frustrated here. It’s match play and anything can happen.”

Against Ikeda in their 7:50 a.m. match, Fortuna said: “My game plan has been working, so I’ll just stick to it. But most importantly, I need to stay patient and see what happens.”

Ikeda, meanwhile, underlined the need to