Lascuña seizes 4-shot win, pads Tour buffer
ANTONIO Lascuña staved off a rally by Elmer Salvador and LJ Go yesterday, closing out with a 3-under-par 67 to rule the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic by four shots at the bending layout formerly known as Marapara in Bacolod.
Lascuña bounced back from his first bogey in 38 holes on No. 4 by gunning down three birdies on his last five holes on the front nine, then snuffed out the challenge of Salvador and the amateur Go to post a 12-under 268 total.
The victory was Lascuña’s third this year.
Counting his wins in the Eagle Ridge and Valley Golf legs earlier, Lascuña widened his lead over Salvador as he chases a record third straight Order of Merit crown.
Playing near-flawless golf the whole week, Lascuña finished with just two bogeys in 72 holes. He didn’t drop a shot in each of the middle two rounds.
The victory was also a huge confidence boost for Lascuña going into the Asian Development Tour’s Aboitiz Invitational next month at the Couples course of the Riviera complex in Cavite.
Salvador fired a 66 like Go, the reigning national champion who is on vacation from his studies in the United States. They both came up short after creeping within one of Lascuña after the fourth hole.
Lascuña responded by picking up shots on the sixth, seventh and ninth holes to keep a one-shot advantage entering the final nine holes.
Go, the former Cebu Country Club star in the PAL Interclub, birdied Nos. 2 and 3, while Salvador had four birdies on his first six holes as both made the turn with 31s.
Arnold Villacencio, the leader after two rounds, remained winless as a pro after shooting a 70, finishing five shots behind, with Ferdie Aunzo carding a 67 and Carl Santos-Ocampo a 68 to end up another shot back.
“They threatened early on but I made clutch birdies [in the latter half of the front nine] to hold them off,” said Lascuña in Filipino. “I hope to take the momentum of this win [to Riviera] and nail a first win in the ADT.”
Though relatively very short compared to the other courses that the Tour plays in, the Marapara yielded just 10 sub-par totals, with Cassius Casas, the winner last week in Iloilo, firing a 68 for 279, tied with Rey Pagunsan, who also had a 68.
Michael Bibat, who was within one of the lead after the first round, also closed out with a 68 for 275, with the long-hitting Orlan Sumcad shooting a 67 for 277.
The event was backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG with Balls, Pinoygolfer.com, Inquirer Golf and ABS-CBN Sports+Action as media partners.
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