Micah Shin and Jay Bayron pounced on Tony Lascuña’s disastrous “9” on No. 13 and finished off with two birdies each to forge ahead in a topsy-turvy third of the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge at the Bacolod Golf and Country Club in Binitin in Bacolod on Friday.
Lascuña quickly overcame a three-stroke deficit to storm ahead by three with a solid 30 start but drove out-of-bounds twice while trying to reach the 283-yard par-4 13th which he birdied in the first two days. He fell short on his third try, made it in six then three-putted.
“I gambled and lost. That’s golf,” said Lascuña, who bogeyed the next but birdied two of the last four to salvage a 69.
That enabled Shin and Bayron to take charge and zero in one top P270,000 purse in this ninth leg of the Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI with the former birdying three of the last six to shoot a 68 and the latter gunning down two birdies in the last five to card a 69 for 202s.
From three down at the turn, Shin and Bayron found themselves leading by three over Lascuña, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and a rallying Orlan Sumcad, who all pooled a 205 heading to the last 18 holes of the P1.5 million event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Van der Valk failed to sustain a 65 in the second round and fumbled with a one-over 71 while Sumcad finally found his touch and form, rattling off three birdies in the last eight to fire a 67 and revive his bid for a maiden victory in his hometown.
Despite his misfortune, Lascuña remained confident of his chances for a third straight victory in the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.
He also vowed to redeem himself from that horrible 9.
“I will still go for that green tomorrow [today]. I just have to concentrate more and hope for the best,” said Lascuña, seeking to nail another leg win after ruling the Eagle Ridge and Forest Hills stops last month.
He rammed in five birdies at the front, spiked by three straight from No. 7, to turn a three-stroke deficit into a three shot lead as Shin and Bayron made a pair of 36s. After three straight pars at the back, he stepped on the 13th oozing with confidence, having birdied the reachable hole in the first two days using his trusted driver.
But it didn’t turn out the way he had wanted.
Cassius Casas missed joining the five-under group with a bogey on the 18th, settling for a 69 and a 206 in a tie with Mhark Fernando, who closed out with a 32 for a 66 while Mars Pucay banked on a solid 32 at the front to shoot a 66 and move to solo eighth at 207, five shots off the joint leaders.
Jerson Balasabas also sizzled at the back with five birdies in the first eight holes but bogeyed the last to turn in a 67 for joint ninth with Jhonnel Ababa, who also shot a 67, and rookie pro Justin Quiban, who carded a 69, at 209.
Del Monte’s Clyde Mondilla followed up his second round 67 with a 65 but the two-leg winner still stood eight shots behind Shin and Bayron at 210 in a tie with Albin Engino, Richard Abaring and Zanieboy Gialon, who all matched par, and Johvanie Abaño, who hobbled with a 72.