MANILA, Philippines — Daniella Uy hobbled to the finish and settled for a 72 as she fell five strokes behind American Olivia Benzin early in the Central Arkansas Open at Centennial Valley Golf and Country Club in Conway, Arizona on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
Uy looked set to secure her place in the Top 10 with four birdies against a double bogey and a bogey going to the par-4 18th, which she however bogeyed on a missed green error. His 35-37 card instead moved him from a share of seventh to 13th with 13 others.
The former world junior champion hit a clean tee shot and birdied the par-3 No. 4, then put her long game on display and birdied the first two par-5s (No. 7 and 9) who canceled a double bogey on the eighth.
She missed a chance on the par-5 10th but bounced back from a bogey on the 14th with another birdie on the par-5 last (No. 15) to earn a share of seventh at one under, only to slip on her last – groped hole.
Still, it was a strong start for the Filipino shooter, who is looking to retain the crown won by compatriot Pauline del Rosario last year and at the same time make up for her joint 24th result in her first stint on the Women’s All Pro Tour in the mountain. Ranch Championship, also in Arizona, last week.
Benzin, meanwhile, came away with five birdies and finished with a solid five-under 67 to take a two-shot lead over Taiwan’s Joy Chou and last week’s runner-up Sarah Rhee of the United States, who both carded 69s, while China’s Miranda Wang also bogeyed the 18th and dropped to fourth at 70 with Caroline Hwang, Samantha Vodry and Amanda Kim all American.