Last-hole birdie lifts Lascuña ahead by 1 | Inquirer Sports

Last-hole birdie lifts Lascuña ahead by 1

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 01:21 AM February 09, 2014

CANLUBANG—Antonio Lascuña came out unscathed at the end of another demanding day, assembling a bogey-free 3-under-par 67 Saturday to wrest a one-stroke lead over Cassius Casas going into the final round of the rich The Country Club Invitational.

Lascuña, the 2004 champion, moved ahead of fellow former champion Casas by draining a tricky 20-foot putt for birdie on the 18th to finish with a 54-hole seven-under 203 aggregate at the exclusive, windswept layout here with one round left.

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Casas actually held the lead until he bogeyed the 17th but he still remained in the hunt for a second title 11 years after ruling the inaugural staging of the P5 million event held in honor of the late ICTSI founder Don Pocholo Razon.

Rey Pagunsan, the solo leader after the second round, failed to crack par for the first time with his 71 marred by two three-putts—one resulting in a double bogey—leaving him with a 205 total and within two shots of snapping a 10-year title drought.

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“I played with better course management, I think,” Lascuña  said in Filipino after admitting he was thoroughly outdriven by Casas and Pagunsan, two of the bigger hitters on the local tour.

“With this course being as tough as it is, it’s not how many birdies you make but how you minimize your mistakes,” added the two-time reigning Order of Merit champion of the ICTSI Tour.

Veteran Mars Pucay was the only other big gun in title contention after shooting a 72 for 211, a stroke behind female amateur ace Princess Superal, who is not eligible to win the P1.5 million champion’s purse.

Pagunsan, a teaching pro out of Southwoods in Carmona, Cavite, went birdie-less in his first eight holes before stumbling with a three-putt bogey on the ninth.

The 45-year-old then nailed two straight birdies from the 12th only to reel back with that three-putt double bogey on the 15th.

“I didn’t have luck on my side today,” Pagunsan said. “But it is still going to be a great fight out there tomorrow (today). I just hope to hit it as well and avoid having three putts.”

Rufino Bayron carded the day’s other bogey-free round, a 68, that put him in  a sixth-place tie with Zanie Boy Gialon at 213. Gialon assembled a 70.

Frankie Miñoza kissed his repeat bid goodbye despite shooting a 70. He fell 12 strokes off the pace in the company of Michael Bibat, who fired a 69; Anthony Fernando, who assembled a 75 and Angelo Que, who churned out a 72.

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TAGS: Angelo Que, Antonio Lascuna, Cassius Casas, Country Club Invitational, Frankie Miñoza, Golf, ICTSI, Princess Superal, Rey Pagunsan, Rufino Bayron
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