Dabawenyo Tony Lascuna turned in his “worst” round in three days – a one-under 71 – but still padded his lead to seven, moving 18 holes away from wrapping up the P2.5 million ICTSI Wack Wack Championship crown and the Order of Merit title at Wack Wack’s East course yesterday.
Momentarily threatened by a charging fellow Dabawenyo Elmer Salvador in a flight ahead at the turn, Lascuna buckled down to work after an opening 37, firing two birdies at the back for that 71 and a 54-hole total of eight-under 208 for a seven-shot lead over Salvador and Angelo Que.
Salvador, who started the round eight strokes behind, closed to within four with a fiery 33 but the ICTSI Sherwood and Aboitiz Invitational champion wavered with a closing 37 for a 71 and a 215.
That was the same output put in by Que, who continued to struggle on a tough course he mastered in 2008 when he won the Philippine Open. He hit four birdies but made the same number of bogeys for a 72.
There were major threats from the other fancied men of the tour, who all struggled in another wind-blown day and tough pin placements with Carl Santos-Ocampo, winner at ICTSI Palos Verdes, blowing a solid 32 at the front with a 37 for a 69. He moved up to solo fourth at 216, eight shots adrift.
Zanie Boy Gialon, a two-leg winner like Lascuna and Salvador, fumbled with a 74 to drop to joint fifth with James Ryan Lam, who matched par 72, at 218 while defending champion Frankie Minoza also failed to sustain a 34 start with a 37 for a 71 for a 219 in a tie with Clyde Mondilla, who made a 72.
“It’s still too early to tell but If I win, it will be my third and it will make this year as my best year since I turned pro,” said Lascuna, who ruled the ICTSI Eagle Ridge and Southwoods legs and finished second in two others to seize the ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour OOM lead midway in the season.
By salvaging a 71, Lascuna remained the only player to have scored in under-par rounds, including a lead-sharing 70 with Que Wednesday, and a fiery 67 that put him six shots ahead halfway through.
“If they can’t cut my lead after the front nine tomorrow (today), then this will be mine,” said Lascuna, all set to add the P450,000 purse to his P1.8 million earnings on the tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sponsored by ICTSI.
Richard Sinfuego also fired a 71 as he tied Mhark Fernando, who had a 75, at 221 while Juvic Pagunsan, skied to a second 79 in three days and tumbled to joint 37th at 233, 25 strokes behind Lascuna.
The other backers of the event are Empire Golf, Titleist, Footjoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Srixon, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)