BACOLOD – Davao’s Tony Lascuña whisked off an early threat from townmate Elmer Salvador and amateur Lloyd Go with a cluster of birdies from No. 6 then cruised to a four-shot romp with a closing three-under 67 in another dominating performance at the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic here, Saturday.
With Salvador and Go pulling to within one from five strokes down with three birdies in the first five holes in separate flights, Lascuña rebounded from a bogey-mishap on No. 4 with birdies on Nos. 6, 7 and 9 and went three-up again with a 33 at the Marapara layout.
It was cruise control from there as Lascuna came through with routine pars and a birdie at the back for a 34 and Salvador and Go, who both made the turn at 31, ran out of steam and firepower and wound up with identical 35s and 66s.
“Elmer and Lloyd threatened in the early going but I made clutch birdies from No. 6 and coasted along at the back,” said Lascuna, who was right on target at 12-under 268 he had predicted to be the winning total in the P1 million event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
The win, adding up to his victories at ICTSI Eagle Ridge and Valley Golf legs of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also primed up Lascuna for the Aboitiz Invitational set next month at Riviera, an Asian Development Tour leg.
“I hope to finally contend for an ADT crown. I had near-misses in the past but never really got into contention in the final round. This time, I think I’m ready,” said Lascuna, who tied for 11th at ADT ICTSI Riviera Classic won by Salvador last May. He didn’t see action in the other ADT event, the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship won by Rufino Bayron last month.
Lascuna took another P200,000 for his latest feat which also firmed up his hold of the Order of Merit lead and a crack at a record third straight OOM crown. Salvador missed clinching solo second with a bogey on the par-5 18th for 272 but still took the P120,000 runner-up prize as Go settled for low amateur honors.
Arnold Villacencio, who finished joint fourth with Lascuna in last week’s ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge, matched par 70 and placed fourth again with a 273 worth P65,000 while Ferdie Aunzo fired a 67 and Fil-Am Carl Santos-Ocampo shot a 68 to share fifth place at 274.
Michael Bibat blew a solid four-under card after 10 holes with two bogeys in the last eight and ended up with a 68 for seventh at 275, Orlan Sumcad rallied with a 67 to salvage eighth place at 277 while ICTSI Iloilo leg winner Cassius Casas finally broke par with a 68 to tie Rey Pagunsan, who also shot a 68, at ninth at 279 in the event backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG with Balls, Pinoygolfer.com, Inquirer Golf and ABS-CBN Sports+Action as media partners.
Go, who threatened to spoil the big guns’ party with a 66 Friday, sustained his form and even showed up Lascuna and Villacencio in the final flight with back-to-back birdies from No. 2. With Lascuna muffing a par-putt bid from seven feet on the fourth, Go birdied No. 5 to move within one.
A flight ahead, Salvador played pressure-free in the company of Aunzo and Santos-Ocampo, birdying Nos. 2, 4 and 5 to likewise pull within one.
But Lascuna matched Go’s birdie on the sixth then knocked down birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 to regain control at the turn.
That was all he needed to wrap up another win as Go and Salvador failed to mount any serious challenge with both hitting just one birdie against a bogey for even 35s and Lascuna burying an eight-footer for birdie on the par-3 13th to cap his 67.(pr)
BACOLOD – Title-hungry Arnold Villacencio flubbed a birdie-putt from two feet on No. 8 and settled for a four-under 66, dropping into a tie with Elmer Salvador, one stroke ahead of fancied Tony Lascuna and obscure Chris Mamaril at the start of the P1 million Negros Occidental Classic here, Wednesday.
National U whisked off Philippine National Police’s gutsy stand in the opener then imposed its will in the next two to fashion out a 25-23, 25-16, 25-18 victory to get back on track after back-to-back setbacks in the Shakey’s V-League Season II Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan, Sunday.
Jaja Santiago used her height and long reach to pummel the PNP defenders with 12 kills, the same number of attacks delivered by Myla Pablo, as the Lady Bulldogs rebounded strong after a pair of 0-3 defeats to powerhouse Army and defending champion Cagayan.
“We made defensive adjustments in the second set that’s why the complexion of the game changed,” said NU coach Ariel dela Cruz.
Santiago finished with 18 hits, including three blocks and the same number of aces, while setter Ivy Perez also came through with three blocks for a five-point output for the Lady Bulldgos, who evened their card at 2-2.
The Lady Patrollers, led by Frances Molina’s 15 hits, fell to 0-5 and on the brink of elimination in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Ateneo survived a surprisingly tough University of the Philippines side and needed to regroup in the decider to pound out a 25-15, 24-26, 25-21, 21-25, 15-11 victory in the second game.
Scoring leader Alyssa Valdez continued to pour in the points, this time firing 31 hits, including 28 kills, to lead the Lady Eagles to joint fifth with the Lady Bulldogs heading to the final week of the single round eliminations of the league backed by Mikasa and Accel and where it all started.
But the Lady Maroons proved to be a big revelation as they dragged the reigning UAAP champions to a thrilling finish but still fell short of their bid to nail the elusive win.
Nicole Tiamzon fired 21 points, Katherine Bersola unleashed a 19-hit effort and Pauline Araneta added 10 markers to practically negate Valdez’s output.
But Michelle Morente chipped in 16 points and Miren Gequillana, Amy Ahomiro and Bea de Leon stepped up and pooled 23 points for the Lady Eagles, who dealt the Lady Maroons their fifth straight loss.
The victory also primed up the Bustillos-based squad for a tough outing against PLDT Home Telpad tomorrow with the Power Boosters raring to atone for their straight-set loss to unbeaten Lady Troopers last Thursday.
Though PNP produced 32 kills against NU’s 37, the Lady Patrollers drew just 12 excellent sets from Jane Ticar, limiting the team’s scoring chances off the spike a bit. In contrast, Perez made 25 excellent sets that led to a number hits from Santiago and Pablo.
Jane Mandapat also chipped eight markers, Jorelle Singh and Perez each had five points and skipper Desiree Dadang added four hits for NU, seeking a follow-up to its First Conference win in Season 10.
NU’s defense also held Jane Maderazo to just eight markers while Charisse Perez and Michell Datuin combined for 11 points for PNP.
Meanwhile, the NU-PNP game will be aired on GMA News TV Channel starting at 1 p.m. on Monday with the Ateneo-UP duel, being played at presstime, to be shown tomorrow, according to the organizing Sports Vision.(pr)
ILOILO – Davao’s Cassius Casas checked his skid in time with a clutch two-putt birdie on No. 14 then watched townmate Elmer Salvador flub birdie putts in the last two holes to hack out a one-stroke victory on a scrambling 70 in the P1 million ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge in Sta. Barbara here, Sunday.
Casas nearly lost a three-stroke lead as the ghosts of his final round meltdowns visited him again when he bogeyed two of the first three holes at the back, including on No. 12, which Salvador birdied for a two-shot swing that moved the latter within a stroke.
But the reigning The Country Club Invitational champion came through with a superb rescue second shot from 230 yards on the par-5 14th that landed 12 feet short off the cup, two-putting for birdie to preserve a two-stroke lead.
Not even a bogey on the 17th could stymie Casas’ bid to pocket the top P200,000 purse as Salvador missed a tying uphill putt from 20 feet and then misread again another birdie putt from eight feet on the final hole, enabling Casas to escape with the victory on an eight-under 272 aggregate.
“It feels good to win again. I’m really hitting well this year and I hope to win at least two or three more before the season ends,” said Casas, who topped last year’s final leg at ICTSI Wack Wack and nailed his second TCC crown but struggled in the first half of this year’s 16-leg circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
It was a sorry setback for Salvador, who went bogey-free in the last 36 holes, including a closing 68, but still came up short to add this leg to his impressive victory in the foreign-laced ICTSI Riviera Classic last May.
“While my driving and iron shots were okay, I just couldn’t putt in the last three days,” rued Salvador, who missed at least six putts from close range in the last three rounds.
“It would be tough for me to win again if I couldn’t improve on my putting,” said Salvador, who took home P120,000 on a 273 total.
Orlan Sumcad birdied No. 17 to fire a 69 and post his best finish in the season at third at 274 worth P65,000 while Arnold Villacencio, a co-leader midway through the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., sizzled with a 67 and tied Tony Lascuna, who carded a 68, at 275. Each took home P45,000.
Mhark Fernando and Rolando Marabe also shot a pair of 68s to share sixth place at 278 worth P32,500 each while Rene Menor turned in a 69 for solo eighth at 279 in the tournament backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG,
Benjie Magada and Jun Bernis also closed out with 68s for joint ninth with Rufino Bayron (69), Michael Bibat (69), Angelo Que (70), Ferdie Aunzo (70), Paul Vesinica (71) and Rico Depilo (71) at 280.
Casas, who missed the cut twice and blew at least two cracks at the title with final round collapses after eight legs, threatened to pull away with birdies on Nos. 2 and 4, stretching his lead to five.
But Salvador birdied No. 6, then pounced on Casas shaky backside start, including a three-putt miscue on No. 10 and a missed green bogey on the 12th, moving within one on that two-shot swing on the par-4 No. 12.
“I guess the three-shot lead I built after 54 holes and my solid start were the key. That put more pressure on them. It was free wheeling, I just played through routine pars and went for birdies when there were chances,” said Casas, now the marked man as the circuit heads to Bacolod starting Wednesday for the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic at the Marapara layout.(pr)