3-way fight looms as Negros golf begins
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BACOLOD—The P1 million ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic gets going today with Order of Merit frontrunner Tony Lascuña, in-form Jay Bayron and the steady Elmer Salvador tipped to slug it out for the crown in what could be an all-Davao showdown at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club here.
Lascuña has racked up two victories in the last three legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, making him the marked man in the 54-hole event which he wants to win so badly after losing in a four-hole playoff to local ace Robert Pactolerin last year.
That setback extended Lascuña’s victory drought with the Davaoeño shotmaker snapping the 17-month spell just last May when he topped the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational. He followed it up with a resounding win at the P2.5 million ICTSI Manila Southwoods to surge ahead in the OOM race with P1.1 million in winnings.
“It’s nice to win again but it will take a lot of effort, plus luck,” said Lascuña in Filipino. “There are so many good players and the course is tough.”
Like Lascuña, Bayron is coming into the event oozing with confidence following his come-from-behind victory in the Maybank ADT Challenge in Jakarta last Sunday with the 2010 OOM champion out to end a string of sorry finishes in the early going of this year’s circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Salvador is also fancied to crowd Lascuña and Bayron for the title with the soft-spoken shotmaker, No. 2 in the current OOM race, hoping to match Lascuña’s two-leg feat after retaining the ICTSI Sherwood Hills crown last April.
Also out to contend for the top P200,000 purse is last year’s three-leg winner Jonel Ababa, who shot an eight-under-par 64 to finish third behind Salvador and Malaysian Nicholas Fung in Jakarta.
Marvin Dumandan, winner at ICTSI John Hay Championship, is also in the fold together with former Philippine Open champion and three-time Asian Tour leg winner Angelo Que.