SILANG, Cavite – Davao’s Tony Lascuna blew his two-shot lead early but hit two clutch birdies then pounced on Angelo Que’s shaky finish to snatch a three-stroke victory with a closing 66 for his first Aboitiz Invitational crown at Riviera’s Couples course here yesterday.
The margin of victory didn’t actually reflect the manner by which the country’s top guns slugged it out in virtual mano-a-mano right from the start with Lascuna recovering his touch with an eagle and a three birdie-binge in a five-hole stretch linking both nines to wrest control and Que bouncing back with his own eagle on the 16th only to reel back with a disastrous bogey on the next for a 67.
In the end, it was the winningest player on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour who nailed his fourth leg victory while extending the other’s winless spell in the season.
“Angelo and I played many times over in the final round that’s why we really know each other’s game well. We match up pretty much even and it was only a question of who will make a mistake first,” said Lascuna.
He actually blinked first, bogeying No. 5 which Que birdied to wipe out Lascuna’s overnight two-shot lead. Que birdied the next to go 1-up, but Lascuna quickly evened things up with a chip-in eagle from the fringe on the par-5 7th off a superb 4-iron shot from 210 yards then birdied the next to wrest a one-stroke lead at the turn.
Lascuna opened the backside with back-to-back birdies and threatened to pull away by three as Que settled for five straight pars but the latter closed within two again as Lascuna bogeyed No. 15 then moved within one with after a solid 6-iron shot from 220 yards that stopped within six feet for eagle.
But it was Que who cracked in the end, hitting a poor drive and missing the green for bogey on the 17th. Two-up and all pumped-up, Lascuna reached the par-4 18th in regulation then capped his victory by drilling in a 30-foot birdie putt to the delight of the big crowd that ringed the 18th green.
“It was a tough win. It could’ve gone either way,” said Lascuna, who wound up with a 268, that included a 66, 69 and 67, worth $17,500 (P752,500) although the 20-under total didn’t go into the record books since preferred lies rules were used for the tournament, sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. for the fourth straight year.
“No problem with the record. I’ll take the win any time. I worked hard for it,” said Lascuna who thanked his supporters, particularly wife Cheryl Alferez, set to give birth to their second child two weeks now, and daughter Shanryl Antonette, who hugged him on the 18th green.
“That’s the beauty of playing against Tony (Lascuna). I always have to dish out my A-game as well. I love being paired with him because I feel so relaxed with him around,” said Que, the three-time Asian Tour winner who remained winless in the season.
Like Lascuna, Que ended up with a run of under par cards for a 271 (65-71-68-67) and won $11,500 then immediately left to catch his flight to France on his way to the European Masters in Switzerland set next week.
Lascuna’s triumph, his first on the ADT, this being the 14th leg of Asian Tour’s farm circuit and co-staged by the ADT and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also capped the Filipinos’ sweep of the three ADT titles held in the country this year with Elmer Salvador winning the ADT ICTSI Riviera Classic at Langer last May and Rufino Bayron clinching his maiden win at ADT ICTSI Orchard Championship last June.
It was also Lascuna’s fourth win this season, including his romps at ICTSI Eagle Ridge, ICTSI Valley Golf and ICTSI Negros Occidental legs of the Philippine Golf Tour.
Thai Pijit Petchkasem, who joined Lascuna and Que in the championship flight with a 68 Friday, lost his way while trying to match the local aces’ hot start, fumbling with a 38 and finishing with a 73, enabling compatriot Rattan Wannasrichan to seize third place at 275 after a 70 worth $7,000.
Petchkasem slid to joint fourth with compatriot Poosit Supupramai, who had a 68, and second round leader Brett Munson of the US, who made a 71, for 277. Each got $4,566. Ireland’s Niall Turner took solo seventh at 279 after a 67 while Jhonnel Ababa, who shared the lead with Que in the first round with a 65, rallied with a 70 to finish tied for eighth at 280 with Miguel Tabuena, who carded a 71, Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, who shot a 69, and Taiwanese Hsieh Tung-shu, who turned in a 71.
The other backers of the event were Nike Golf, Pacsports Phils. Inc., Srixon, Callaway, Mizuno, Empire Golf, Footjoy, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp and KZG, the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with ABS-CBN Sports & Action, Balls and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)
SILANG, Cavite – Davao’s Tony Lascuna flubbed a birdie try from 12 feet on the last hole but still held on to a two-stroke lead over Angelo Que and Thai Pijit Petchkasem as erstwhile leader Brett Munson wavered coming home to close in on his first Aboitiz Invitational crown at the Riviera Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
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)