CARMONA, Cavite – Tony Lascuña put on another solid start to startle Miguel Tabuena and finished with another flawless 67 to post another runaway victory – a four-stroke romp in the ICTSI Pilipinas Invitational for his third straight victory on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour here Saturday.
Lascuña actually didn’t have to apply the pressure early to wrest control as Tabuena, one-up after 54 holes at Manila Southwoods’ Legends course, bogeyed the second hole with a lip-out from five feet, before the reigning back-to-back PGT Order of Merit champion buckled down to work in a typical Lascuña fashion.
He gunned down four birdies in six-hole stretch from No. 4, made the turn at 32 and went two-up over Tabuena, who tried to make a charge at the back that backfired, ending up with bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 and forcing him to play it safe in the last two holes to secure the runner-up honors.
“My plan was to really attack early and it’s a good thing that I made those birdies so I virtually played pressure-free at the back,” said Lascuña, after closing out without a bogey in the last 36 holes to finish with a 19-under 269 total.
He pocketed the top purse of P650,000, his biggest paycheck so far in the year that saw him win three other ICTSI PGT legs, including the last two at ICTSI Negros Occidental and the recent Aboitiz Invitational.
Tabuena, who had tried to nail the second P3.5 million event after dominating the field, including Lascuña at ICTSI Manila Masters at Eastridge last June, settled for a 72 after stringing two 66s to take charge after 54 holes and took the P430,000 prize on a 15-under 273.
Cassius Casas, tied with Lascuña at the start of the round, faded early with a bogey and double-bogey mishaps on Nos. 4 and 6, respectively, but fought back with three birdies in the last six holes to salvage third at 274 worth P240,000.
Cebuano Charles Hong, winner of the other P3.5 million event of the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. at Sherwood, and Arnold Villacencio rallied with identical 67s to tie Clyde Mondilla, who shot a 70, and Anthony Fernando, who matched par 72, at 276. They shared the combined P600,000 purse.
Mars Pucay also carded a 72 to finish eighth at 277 worth P100,000 while Marvin Dumandan and Orlan Sumcad took the last two spots at 278 and 279, after a pair of 71s worth P88,000 and P78,500, respectively, in the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG.
Lascuña overshot the 18th green but rolled in a downhiller from seven feet to salvage par, raising his arms in triumph in another dominating performance by the hottest player on the tour. As in his past victories, he was greeted by eight-year-old daughter Shanryl Antonette on the 18th green with wife Cheryl Alferez set to give birth to their second child next week.
After watching Tabuena reel back with an early bogey, Lascuña went to work and birdied Nos. 4 and 5 from seven feet then hit another back-to-back birdies from No. 7 from 12 feet.
Tabuena did fight back with his own birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 but simply ran out of holes at the back while ruing for his poor putting.
“I just couldn’t hit my putts. I put myself in a bad spot on No. 2 and failed to save par after it lipped out,” said Tabuena. “But overall, I’m happy with my performance and I can say I’m generally ready to compete on the Asian Tour.”
Meanwhile, Lascuña, Tabuena along with Casas, Elmer Salvador and Angelo Que set out for the Asian Tour starting next week in Taiwan with Lascuña hoping to bring his winning act on the bigger stage.