MORONG, Bataan – Peerless Angelo Que pounced on the frontrunners’ meltdown in scorching heat and tremendous pressure and stroked his way to a dramatic finish with a new course record eight-under 64, beating Tony Lascuña by three to capture the ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational crown at the Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club here Saturday.
Que finally solved the Seaside Nine puzzle that stymied his third round charge Friday, ramming in six birdies, including four straight to close out a sizzling backside charge of 30 that lifted him from sixth place, six behind Jay Bayron, to the top of the podium with a nine-under-par 279 total.
Not only did Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner who went winless last year, re-set the 66 posted by young Micah Shin of the US in the second round of the P3.5 million event sponsored by ICTSI. But he also snatched the top P650,000 purse to re-take the Order of Merit lead with a P1.572 million total after five legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
“It was a perfect game. Everything was in place, including my irons and putting,” said Que, who received the check and trophy from event manager Luigi Tabuena and Anvaya Golf operations manager Steve McDonald during awards rites.
Unmindful of Que’s fiery windup three flights behind, Lascuña rallied to within one with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 but blew his bid with back-to-back closing bogeys, finishing with a 71 for second at 282 worth P430,000 while Cassius Casas, the third man in the final group who remained in the hunt with a two-under card after 15 holes, likewise wavered at the finish with two bogeys in the last three holes for a 72 and ended up third at 284 and took home P240,000.
Que, who preserved a bogey-free round by saving pars in three times that he went out of regulation, hardly loomed as a threat despite birdies on Nos. 3 and 6. But back-to-back birdies from No. 10, including a 30-footer on the 11th, sparked hopes of a big comeback for the big-hitting shotmaker, who after three pars from No. 12, ripped it off with four straight birdies.
He thus became the first player to win on the two-year old layout carved out in the Bataan mountains near the boundary of former US naval base in Subic and built inside the 470 hectares land owned by the Ayala Land Corp. where long-time golf patron operates his container business.
It was also his second win in the young season after holding off Miguel Tabuena at the ICTSI Manila Masters at Eastridge Golf Club last month.
While Que basked in glory from a flawless game, Bayron rued his backside meltdown.
“I just had a bad game and unluckily, it came in the final nine holes of the final round, “ said Bayron. “But that’s golf, it’s all about consistency.”
With Bayron falling with a thud with a closing 44 and a 79, Lascuña took the challenger’s role, gunning down birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 to threaten with one off Que, who was cooling down at the clubhouse after that scorching 64.
But the reigning three-time OOM champion fell back with a costly bogey on the par-4 17th which he birdied the previous round, virtually handing the championship to Que, who was actually bracing for a playoff after Lascuña came to within one with three holes left.
In disgust, Lascuña also bogeyed the final hole and wound up with a second 71 and remained winless after racking up five victories in a dominant campaign last year.
Mars Pucay rallied with a 68 and Tabuena, winner at ICTSI Splendido, fought back with a 70 as they shared fourth place at 286 and split the combined purse of P350,000. Jay Bayron tumbled to joint sixth at 288 after that 79 with brother Rufino Bayron and Frankie Miñoza, who carded 70 and 72, respectively. Each got P116,666.
Miñoza, who played alongside Que, praised the 36-year-old pro for his remarkable game, saying: “He’s a good player and I’ve played with him in the same flight many times over.”
Orlan Sumcad also skied to a 77 and ended up ninth at 289 worth P88,000 while Michael Bibat salvaged 10th place and P78,500 with a second 72 for a 290.