Lascuña grabs 2-shot buffer
BOGEY-FREE for the second straight day, Antonio Lascuña fired a 4-under-par 66 and zoomed to a two-shot lead over the faltering Arnold Villacencio after yesterday’s penultimate round of the P1 million ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic at Marapara in Bacolod.
With all aspects of his game clicking, Lascuña wrested the lead quite easily as Villacencio, the overnight leader, struggled in the back nine with three of his four bogeys to submit a 71 after earlier rounds of 66-66.
“Somehow, everything worked for me today,” said Lascuña in Filipino after posting a 54-hole total of 201 and drew near a third victory this season which will widen his lead over Elmer Salvador in his chase for a third straight Order of Merit crown.
Amateur LJ Go, the reigning national champion, fired five birdies in a 66 to pull to within five and keep a mathematical chance at 306 in a tie with Salvador, who shot a second straight 70, and Carl Santos-Ocampo, who returned a 67.
Michael Bibat, Ferdie Aunzo and Jonel Ababa were another shot back at 307 after rounds of 72, 66 and 69, respectively.
Of his four birdies, the longest putt that Lascuña knocked in was a 16-footer on the 11th. The three others came from close range as he targeted the pins with great precision.
Villacencio, whose best finish so far in his career was third place twice, remained three-up on Lascuña after birdying the 10th. But he started to unravel from there as he bogeyed the next two holes before dropping another shot on the 15th.
“I struggled with my putting today,” Villacencio, who plays out of the Fernando Air Base course in Lipa City, said in Filipino.
Go, the former Cebu CC star in the PAL Interclub who is on vacation from his studies in the United States, can become the first amateur to win a leg since Mark Fernando won at The Riviera in 2009.
Salvador, who fired an opening 66, had four birdies but was very inconsistent in the third round. He signed for a double bogey 6 on No. 9 and closed out his round with his third bogey.
The event’s other backers are Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG. Media partners are Balls, Pinoygolfer.com, Inquirer Golf and ABS-CBN Sports+Action.