Pagunsan goes wire to wire; Asian Tour No. 1 tops TCC by 4
The reigning Asian Tour No. 1 stormed away from Elmer Salvador after the first nine holes by shooting an eagle-spiked 31 coming home for a closing one-under-par 69 to win by four strokes at the exclusive TCC layout here.
Pagunsan hit a gorgeous 3-wood from more than 250 yards to within 15 feet of the par-5 14th hole before draining the putt for a 3 that sent him on the way to securing the P1.4 million champion’s purse.
It was the third TCC Invitational title for Pagunsan, counting his triumphs in 2006 and 2008, but he was still in no mood to entertain tournament-related queries from the print media afterwards.
His victory tied him with Angelo Que as the only three-time winners of the event, while Salvador endured another four days of heartbreak after giving gallant chase all the way.
And he was the perfect gentleman even after the loss.
“I did what I could do, but he (Pagunsan) played very well,” Salvador, the 2009 champion in the all-Filipino Philippine Open, said in Filipino. “He deserves to win.”
Pagunsan actually he went birdie-eagle-birdie in a three-hole span starting on the 13th as he left
Salvador for good and get his 2012 season started on an impressive note.
With his third straight 69 in four days over the unforgiving, well-manicured layout south of Manila, Pagunsan tallied a 277 for 72 holes, while Salvador, who picked up close to P700,000, finished at 281.
The first nine was actually not pretty for both Pagunsan and Salvador, as the eventual champion closed out bogey-bogey-double bogey for a 38 that allowed Salvador to claim a piece of the lead at even par overall.
Antonio Lascuña broke par with a 68 and finished in solo third spot, two strokes behind Salvador. He ended up with a hefty P430,000 payday.
Marvin Dumandan, second placer to Que last year, duplicated Lascuna’s day-best 68 and caught Artemio Murakami and Que in a fourth place tie at 286, worth over P230,000 each.
Murakami, the 2009 winner in record style, fired a 69, while Que, whose cold first two rounds ruined his “three-peat” bid, closed out with a level 70 even as Carl Santos-Ocampo, who was in third after three rounds, ballooned to a 76 to finish tied for seventh.
Santos-Ocampo, the former national team standout, tallied 287 like inaugural champion Cassius Casas (72) and Rufino Bayron (71).
The final scores:
277—J. Pagunsan 70-69-69-69; 281—E. Salvador 71-69-69-72; 283—A. Lascuña 73-71-71-68; 286—M. Dumandan 76-72-70-68, A. Murakami 74-70-73-69, A. Que 75-73-68-70; 287—R. Bayron 72-72-72-71, C. Casas 74-70-72-72, C. Santos-Ocampo 72-70-69-76; 288—M. Pucay 74-70-72-72; 292—G. Bondoc 77-72-72-71,
D. Becierra 74-74-72-72, F. Miñoza 73-72-72-75