CHIHIRO Ikeda suffered a final-round collapse and saw her chances of winning the 48th Philippine Ladies Open crown vanish in thin air Friday at the Manila Southwoods Legends course in Carmona, Cavite.
Cyna Rodriguez emerged the new champion by firing a five-under-par 67 in the final day to finish at six-under 201 for the tournament and a seven-shot victory over Lovelyn Guiogio of Del Monte, who also overtook Ikeda following a one-over-par 71 for 217.
Ikeda, the 18-year-old shotmaker from Davao City and Laos Southeast Asian Games double gold medal winner, paced the field for two straight days until disaster struck her yesterday.
After starting hot with a 67 and 73, Ikeda simply lost touch with a 78, her final-day drive marred by an opening hole bogey and triple bogey on the par-4 hole No. 2 where she four-putted.
Rodriguez, a former junior world champion, for her part played a steady game then watched two-day leader Chihiro Ikeda struggle and Irina Gabasa succumb to pressure under windy conditions.
Rodriguez, the 18-year-old psychology student at the University of Southern California, was unstoppable by gunning down six birdies for the day.
Rodriguez, whose best finish was third place in 2008 after five appearances, mixed in birdies on Nos. 4 and 6, stumbled on a lone bogey after using a wrong club on the ninth, and sizzled with four more birdies at the back nine en route to victory. She had earlier rounds of 73 and 70.
"It's a good feeling to win in this tournament because I'm at home," said Rodriguez, who would be leaving for the United States on Sunday.
Rodriguez erased a three-stroke deficit after two rounds behind Ikeda when she parred the first two holes and took charge from there.
Ikeda, who won the 2008 edition of the event, finish third at 218, while Regina De Guzman (73) was at solo fifth with a 222.
Anya Tanpinco shot a 75 for a 226 total at sixth, while Gabasa, who sparkled with a 65 Thursday, scored an 84 for a 227 aggregate in tie with last year's runner-up Dottie Ardina (73), Andie Unson (75) and Apple Fudolin (78).