Coming out of a tight finish a winner a third time around, Tony Lascuña exudes confidence as he heads to the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic, shooting for fourth straight and fifth overall at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club in Bacolod starting Wednesday.
“This win further boosted my confidence going to Marapara. I really feel good and will go for another win,” said the 46-year-old veteran Davaoeño shotmaker, after rallying from three shots down with a closing bogey-free 65 at the Bacolod Golf and Country Club in Binitin then nipped Dutch Guido Van der Valk and American Micah Shin on the first playoff hole to bag the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge crown last Saturday.
It was Lascuña’s third straight victory in this year’s Philippine Golf Tour, counting his one-shot win over Japanese Ryoma Miki at Eagle Ridge and a nine-stroke romp over Zanieboy Gialon and Orlan Sumcad at Forest Hills last month.
That should make him the player to beat at the former Marapara layout although Van der Valk and Shin, along with the other local top guns will also be going all-out to foil his bid while fueling their respective title drives in the P1.5 million event serving as the 10th leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
But Lascuña, who also won at Luisita last April, isn’t only coming into the event riding on a three-win run but also brings with him the bragging rights as the winner at NOGCC when it last hosted a PGT leg in 2014. He beat Elmer Salvador and Cebuano amateur Lloyd Jefferson Go by four to spark a three-leg sweep and finish with five legs wins on his way to copping his third straight OOM title.
“I always love to play at Marapara, despite its tough condition especially in the presence of the wind,” said Lascuña. “But I expect another tight finish since everybody will be trying to stop my streak.”
They include Van der Valk and Shin, who fell short of their bid to nail a breakthrough on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with shaky backside stints at Binitin, enabling Lascuña to gain a crack at the title and eventually snatch the win.
Others tipped to contend for the top P270,000 are Jay Bayron, Cassius Casas, Mhark Fernando and Sumcad who all bounced back into contention in the final round at Binitin but failed to match Lascuña’ solid finish.
Meanwhile, a select number of pros test the NOGCC layout in Tuesday’s pro-am tournament where they will be paired with the amateur guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.