Salvador grabs one-stroke lead
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CEBU—Elmer Salvador outslugged Tony Lascuña in a thrilling day-long shootout between two of the country’s leading shotmakers, firing a six-under 65 and wresting a one-stroke lead in the Aboitiz Invitational Presented by ICTSI yesterday.
With the next best player laying seven shots off Lascuña, the fight for the top $11,375 purse has come down to the two Davaoeños who shared the halfway lead in the $65,000 event at Cebu Country Club Thursday.
“It will come down to who gets hot first,” said Lascuña, bracing for another duel with Salvador, who surged ahead at eight-under 205, in today’s final round of the Asian Development Tour event sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.
Lascuña shot a bogey-free 66 in another challenging, scorching day marred by rains in the afternoon but had to settle for second at 206 in the face of Salvador’s fiery third round charge in the 72-hole championship put up by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Salvador actually built a two-shot cushion heading to the par-4 18 but mishit his drive and flubbed a par-putt bid from 12 feet to enable Lascuña to come to within one.
“He’s playing solid but I like my chances. It will be a good match tomorrow (today),” said Lascuña, the current Order of Merit leader on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
He also took notice of Salvador’s superb stint on the putting green where the leader frolicked with a series of one-putts that spiked his 31-34 card.
“I was very lucky. I didn’t have a good day with my driver but pulled it off with a lot of one-putts,” said Salvador.
Elmer Saban, another bet from Davao, will be the third man in the final flight but he stood too far behind at even 213 despite a solid 67 in the company of Mars Pucay, winner of the ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge two weeks ago who carded a 68.
Englishman Grant Jackson shot a 69 to emerge the leading foreign player at 216 in a tie with Ruben Sasutil and Ebarra Quiachon, who made a 68 and 73, respectively.
Defending champion Jay Bayron failed to make a third round charge with a four-over 75 and slipped to joint eighth at 217, 11 shots off Salvador.
Other four-over par scorers were Korean Kim Gi-whan (70), Dutch Guido Van der Valk (71) and Richard Sinfuego (72).
Salvador, winner at ICTSI Sherwood Hills, broke out of a tie with Lascuña early with birdies on the first two holes but the latter struck back just as quickly, gunning down a 12-foot eagle putt from a solid 3-iron fade shot off a stymied lie. They remained tied with pars in the next five holes before Salvador moved up again by two with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9.
He stretched it to three with another birdie on the 10th but Lascuna fought back with his own back-to-back birdies from No. 11, only to fall behind by two again as Salvador birdied the 17th.
Other backers of the event, also serving as the ninth leg of the ICTSI PGT, 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.