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Princess Mary Superal celebrates winning the inaugural Simone Asia Pacific Cup. Photo: Simone Asia Pacific Cup

Simone Asia Pacific Cup: Philippines’ Princess Mary Superal in breakout win

  • She wins by 3 shots from former US Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu of South Korea
  • South Korean Taehoon Ok cards 3rd-round 69 to take the outright lead in the men’s International Series Korea

The Philippines’ Princess Mary Superal held off some of the world’s best golfers to claim her maiden professional international title at the inaugural Simone Asia Pacific Cup on Saturday.

The 25-year-old fired a glorious five-under-par 67 to finish on a 12-under-par 204, winning by three shots from former US Women’s Open winner So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, who also closed with a 67.

World No 4 Lydia Ko, who trailed by one at the start of the day, failed to mount a strong challenge as she signed for a 70 to finish four shots behind the champion.

“It’s pretty special to me because this is my first international win as a professional,” said Superal, who pocketed a cool US$100,000 for the biggest payday of her career. “I’ve been waiting for this moment to arrive. I’m very happy.”

Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong was 11 shots behind the winner in Jakarta. Photo: Simone Asia Pacific Cup

Playing alongside the more illustrious Ko, she showed no signs of nerves as she birdied three of the opening four holes to open a two-shot lead and never looked back since.

Superal picked up her fourth and fifth birdies of the day on holes 10 and 15 to finish with a bogey-free scorecard at the Pondok Indah Golf Course in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“To be able to play with the world’s top golfers, obviously I did feel nervous but happy at the same time,” she said. “It’s the first time I had this chance and I will cherish it.”

Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan was 11 shots back after a final round of 70, while compatriot Ginnie Ding carded a 74 to finish a further nine shots back.

In the team competition, the title went to Team Korea 2, comprising Ryu and Bomee Lee, who ended on 11 under par.

In the men’s International Series Korea, South Korean Taehoon Ok’s bid to win for the first time in the professional game gathered momentum when he carded a third-round two-under-par 69 to take the lead.

At 12 under for the Asian Tour event, he leads countrymen Wooyoung Cho, Yoseop Seo and Bio Kim by one shot.

Cho carded a stunning 61, Seo 67 and Kim 70 to set up an enthralling final day at Lotte Skyhill Country Club on Jeju Island.

Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and Pavit Tangkamolprasert were a stroke further back, after rounds of 63 and 67 respectively.

Taichi Kho of Hong Kong was seven shots off the lead on five under after a third-round 66.

Ok and Kim had started the third day sharing the lead, but it was the former who had the edge for much of the day, reaching 14 with two to play and the prospect of a healthy lead.

However, he made bogey on 17 and 18 to give hope to the chasing pack.

“It was a disappointing finish, but I was satisfied with the round,” said Ok. “Tomorrow’s conditions should be the same, so I will take that into account over those two holes.”

Ginnie Ding finished with a round of 74. Photo: Simone Asia Pacific Cup

Cho, 20, lit up the tournament with the best round of the week, made up of four birdies on the front and six on the back, including five birdies in the last six holes.

It was also the lowest 18-hole score of the season on the Asian Tour, but as preferred lies are being played it could not count officially.

He won the Korean Amateur Championship in 2020, was third in last year’s Asian Pacific Amateur Championship and was ranked the country’s top amateur ahead of the now-postponed Asian Games.

Bio’s attempt to win for the third time this year in Korea remained on course despite not breaking 70 for the first time this week.

He said: “Nothing seemed to go my way today, but I tried to stay patient and capitalise on the chances I had. I did that pretty well but unfortunately on 17 I had a half-plugged lie and got up and down for bogey.”

American Trevor Simsby, winner of the Malaysian Open in 2020 just before the pandemic shut down the Asian Tour for close two years, returned a 68 and was three off the lead.