Tony Lascuña will keep the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit (OOM) crown for the third straight year even if he skips the circuit’s final leg at the ICTSI Tournament Players’ Championship at Southlinks Golf Club in Las Pinas next week.
Boosted by his five victories on the ICTSI-sponsored circuit, including three straight in Bacolod, Riviera and Southwoods, Lascuña has racked up earnings of P3,181,565, way ahead of second running Miguel Tabuena, who has winnings of P1,705,168 on the strength of his runaway win at ICTSI Manila Masters at Eastridge.
Elmer Salvador, winner at ICTSI Riviera, is in third with P1,686,425 while Sherwood Hills leg champion Charles Hong remains in fourth with earnings of P1,364,850 followed by Cassius Casas (P1,108,769), Rufino Bayron (P1,059,808), Jay Bayron (P934,145), Clyde Mondilla (P933,910), Marvin Dumandan (P926,453) and Angelo Que (P884,366).
Lascuña has enjoyed tremendous form the past three years, but has been awesome this year with five victories, topping the ICTSI Eagle Ridge leg last April and ICTSI Valley Challenge last May then stringing up three straight wins at ICTSI Negros Occidental in Bacolod, Aboitiz Invitational at Riviera and ICTSI Pilipinas Invitational at Southwoods. He has also put in an impressive campaign abroad, including a runner-up finish at Selangor Masters last Sept.
But with Lascuña, Tabuena and Salvador set to play in Chiangmai Classic also next week, the battle for the top P650,000 purse is expected to be fierce when the P3.5 million ICTSI TPC is played Nov. 11-14.
“It’s going to be close, given the depth of the field and the motivation to win the final leg of this year’s circuit,” said Casas, reeling from a loss to Mondilla in the circuit’s last leg in Canlubang.
Mondilla hopes to keep the momentum of his breakthrough four-shot win at Cangolf, as he goes for back-to-back in the 72-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. together with Arnold Villacencio, who nipped Tabuena in a playoff to likewise claim his maiden pro win at ICTSI Summit last month.
Hong, who dominated the field to win the tour’s first P3.5 million event at Sherwood last April, is also out for a big finish along with the tour’s other leg winners, including Rufino Bayron (ICTSI ADT Orchard), Jun Rates (John Hay) and Zanie Boy Gialon (Northwoods).
Others confirmed to play at ICTSI TPC, backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp, KZG and Rudy Project, are Jhonnel Ababa, Ferdie Aunzo, Jessie Balasabas, Dante Becierra, Michael Bibat, Mhark Fernando, Anthony Fernando and Gerald Rosales.
Mars Pucay, an Asian Tour campaigner, is also in the fold, chasing his first local win in a long while, along with Artemio Murakami, Robert Pactolerin, Rey Pagunsan, Elmer Saban, Benjie Magada, Micah Shin and Jun Bernis.