MORONG, Bataan – Jay Bayron pricked young Micah Shin’s bubble early to wrest control but blew a big lead with a faltering finish, settling for a 70 and a two-stroke edge over Tony Lascuña in the third round of the P3.5 million ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational at the Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club here yesterday.
Bayron went on a birdie-binge and charged back from two shots down to lead by many as five with a bogey-free four-under card after 13 holes. But he fumbled with a missed-green bogey on No. 16, birdied the next but hit an errant drive on No. 18 and holed out with a double-bogey for a 33-37 card and a 209.
While Bayron wavered at the finish, Lascuña used a strong windup to keep it close at 211, ramming in two birdies in the last four holes to salvage a 71.
Shin, who set a course record 66 Thursday to upstage the star-studded field, never recovered from a bogey-riddled 42 at the front and tumbled to fifth at 214 after a 77, enabling the big-hitting Orlan Sumcad to take the third spot and a crack at the top P650,000 purse in today’s championship flight.
Sumcad, who emerged the surprise runner-up to Thai Itthipat Buranatanyarat in last month’s ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic of the Asian Development Tour, rallied with two birdies in the last six holes to fire a 70 and keep himself on track for a breakthrough victory on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with a 212.
Cassius Casas matched that four-under overall output with a 71 while Angelo Que failed to sustain a second round 67 with a woeful 74 and slipped to sixth at 215, six shots off Bayron heading to the final 18 holes of the fifth leg of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Frankie Miñoza and Miguel Tabuena both matched par 72s and remained tied at 216 while Michael Bibat also shot a 72 to join Japanese Toru Nakajima (73), Rufino Bayron (74) and Mars Pucay (75) at 218.
“It won’t be easy. For as long as there are holes to play, I can’t be so sure (of victory),” said Jay Bayron, seeking to end a year-long drought that started after he rallied from nine strokes down to snatch the ICTSI Splendido crown from brother Rufino early last year.
Truly, with Lascuña as chief rival, Bayron could only hope for the best with the former also raring to nail his first win in the season after racking up five victories last year en route to retaining the PGT Order of Merit crown for the third straight year.
“I need to play a solid game since Jay is tough to beat. He’s good and has a lot of championship experience,” said Lascuña.
While Jay Bayron hinted at a closing three-under card to clinch it, Lascuña refused to predict a winning score. But behind by two, he would need to better his fellow Davaoeño’s target in the event sponsored by ICTSI.
From two shots up to five strokes adrift, Shin still hopes to come up with a big turnaround on an unpredictable course with thick roughs and which varies in character in every swirl of the wind.
“I played really awful. It’s quite disappointing to see things going bad on the golf course,” said a dejected Shin shaking his head in frustration as he headed back to the locker room. “I have to play good in the final. Hopefully, my game turns out good.”
Jay Bayron looked real good at the start, birdying Nos. 1, 4 and 5 for a 33 before drilling another birdie from close range for the second straight day on the par-3 13th to move up by five over Lascuña, who bogeyed No. 12 and dropped two strokes on the par-4 14th.
But after two pars, Bayron missed the 16th green and failed to return a six footer for par and though he birdied the short No. 17, he double bogeyed the last hole when he drove to the left.(pr)