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Final call — LPGA-chasing Pinays need strong finish in Q-Series

Del Rosario also had a 71 to go seven-under 351 for T49, while Ardina faltered with a 76 for 356 and T68.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Pauline del Rosario/IG PAULINE del Rosario has her eyes on the prize, but it’s going to be an uphill climb in the sixth and final round.

Despite a tepid fifth round, Clariss Guce remained in contention for outright LPGA Tour cards for next year.

But that can’t be said of fellow Filipinas Pauline del Rosario and Dottie Ardina who also struggled in Tuesday’s fifth — and penultimate — round of the Q-Series at the Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Alabama.

Guce carded a one-under-par 71 at Crossing course but still slid to a share of 35th place, from 29th after the fourth round. Yet at nine-under 349, she has strong chances to make the top 45 and ties which makes it to next year’s LPGA Tour via category 15.

Del Rosario also had a 71 to go seven-under 351 for T49, while Ardina faltered with a 76 for 356 and T68. They both need a massive comeback to gain inroads this late in the game.

Korean So Mi Lee returns to the top of the leaderboard after five rounds as scores began to separate players on the leaderboard as the tournament comes closer to an end.

The round of the day goes to Lee, who shot a bogey-free 63, matching the LPGA Q-Series course record, to move from a tie in second to solo first headed into the final, sixth round. Lee started off No. 1, paired with her playing opponents Robyn Choi and Yuri Yoshida.

Headed into Tuesday, Lee looked to overcome Choi’s three-shot lead she had on the field. She claimed her first birdie of the day on the par-3 2nd hole before picking up an eagle two holes later on the par-5 4th hole.

The 24-year-old grabbed another birdie on the second par 5 on the front nine, No. 6 before carding one more birdie on hole 9 to make the turn at five-under par. Lee sat at 23-under par for the first three holes on the back nine, and made birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to gain two more strokes.

She finished strong coming down the stretch, turning in back-to-back birdies on the par-3 17th and the par-4 18th for one last final push up to first place.

Two shots behind Lee sits Choi, who carded a second-round 68 in her fifth round. Choi opened Tuesday’s round with a double bogey on No. 1 before following up with a birdie on the par-3 2nd hole. She continued to recover after her rocky start, carding back-to-back birdies on holes 5 and 6.

Japanese players Mao Saigo and Yoshida sit in third and fourth place, respectively. Both players had been in a tie in second place alongside Lee entering into the second to last day of play.

Twenty-two-year-old Saigo shot a bogey-free 66 to sit three shots behind the LPGA Q-Series leader and turn in her third consecutive scorecard that lacked bogeys. She grabbed two birdies on the par 4s, Nos. 3 and 7, and carded two sets of birdies on the back nine on holes 12 and 13, as well as 16 and 17.

Yoshida sits three shots behind Saigo, and six shots behind first place headed into Wednesday. The three-time JLPGA winner made the turn at even par today, before making three birdies on her back nine to shoot 69.

Ten shots behind the leader sits 2023 LPGA Tour Rookies Polly Mack and Hyo Joon Jang as well as three-time KLPGA winner Yu Jin Sung at 17-under par for the tournament thus far.

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