Salvador, 2 others come to grief on 18
MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon, Philippines?Cassius Casas fired a 3-under-par 69 yesterday and won the ICTSI Del Monte championship when the leading players in the final group were disqualified for violating a rule on the 18th green.
Casas was all set to drive off for Davao knowing that he had only finished third when he was called to receive the championship trophy, his first in the revived Tour, after tallying a 54-hole total of 10-under 206.
With Elmer Salvador, Richard Sinfuego and Juvic Pagunsan disqualified, first-round leader Robert Pactolerin (71) and Angelo Que (72) shared second at 209 with Antonio Lascuña (70) finishing fourth, a stroke behind.
?I didn?t pray that they be disqualified,? Casas, a former RP Open champion, said in Filipino of one of the weirdest finishes ever in the Tour.
?But golf has its rules and we must play by them,? added Cassius, who had earlier rounds of 68-69 and started the final round trailing Salvador by two.
Salvador had the tournament won with a closing 69 when he was disqualified, along with Sinfuego and Pagunsan, for an infraction of golf?s Rule 22-1, which has something to do with ?assisting fellow competitors,? according to tournament referee Henry Arabejo.
With the trio playing its third shot from around the green, Salvador hit first and put his pitch to within six inches of the cup, eliciting loud cheers from the gallery.
Salvador went to his ball supposedly to mark it, but was asked by Pagunsan and Sinfuego not to since?purportedly?they could use the ball as guide when they play their respective shots.
?We are not saying that any of them deliberately tried to cheat,? Arabejo said. ?But the rule says that they violated something. Hence, the disqualification.?
Rule 22-1 states that in stroke play, ?if the committee determines that competitors have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor, they are disqualified.?
Sinfuego would have finished second with a 69 while Pagunsan would have tied Casas for third with a 70.
Rookie pro Albin Engino, a former Canlubang mainstay in the PAL Interclub, booked the highest finish of his young career after firing a 70 to tie Ferdinand Aunzo (72) and Artemio Murakami (72) at 212.
?I was about to mark it, but Juvic told me not to,? Salvador, the reigning RP Open champ, said in Filipino. ?What puzzles me is that Arabejo was there on the green and he didn?t call my attention.?
Cebu Country Club will next host the circuit, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., on Aug. 9.
Casas, a 42-year-old who posted strong finishes in the previous legs but never a winner here in the past two years, had five birdies and two bogeys.
Pactolerin booked his first top five finish this season.
The final scores:
206?C. Casas 68-69-69; 209?R. Pactolerin 66-72-71, A. Que 70-67-72; 210?A. Lascuna 71-69-70; 212?A. Engino 70-72-70, F. Aunzo 73-67-72, A. Murakami 70-70-72; 213?R. Jaraula 76-67-70, R. Bayron 72-71-70; 214?M. Pucay 75-67-72, B. Magada 70-70-74; 215?O. Dungca 74-73-68, R. Bisera 74-71-70, J. Bayron 73-69-73, E. Saban 69-72-74; 216?J. Opaco 75-72-69, D. Becierra (Am) 69-76-71, J. Balasabas (Am) 72-72-72, D. Zarate 69-74-73, L. Dacudao 68-74-74, J. Bernis 70-71-75, J. Ababa (Am) 68-73-75; 217?A. Fernando 70-77-70, E. Rellon 74-73-70, J. Plete 72-72-73, M. Bibat 75-69-73, P. Miñoza 73-69-75