ICTSI Orchard unwraps; Lascuña upbeat

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Tony Lascuña hopes to rebound from a failed bid at Luisita and ride the momentum of a pro-am victory as he heads the local charge against an elite foreign cast in the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship reeling off today (Wednesday, May 10) at the Orchard’s Player course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

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“This is a big morale boost but I still have to play quality golf in the next four days. The field is strong and anything can happen here at Orchard,” said Lascuña, who ruled Monday’s pro-am tournament of the $60,000 event put up by ICTSI with amateur partners John Laurel, Juanchit Jose and Siegfried Ramos.

Tony Lascuña is all primed up for a title crack. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The foursome pooled a 17-under 55 to nip 2014 Orchard Championship winner Rufino Bayron, Arnel Paras, Paul Griba and David Astejada, who assembled a 56, while Michael Bibat, Alex Dy, Amy Dy and Bien Cerbo placed third with a 57.

Lascuña, the reigning Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner, actually moved within one of Micah Shin halfway through the Luisita Championship last week but closed out with a pair of 71s to settle for joint fourth with Jhonnel Ababa and American Brett Munson.

He rued his poor putting in the last two rounds but the veteran campaigner vowed to make up for the slack in this week’s event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. which offers a top purse of $10,500.

“I’m ready and I feel good now with my stroke. I just hope it will click in all four days,” said Lascuña, who drew Bayron and last week’s playoff loser Mathiam Keyser of South Africa in the 7:45 a.m. flight on No. 1.

Keyser, who lost to absentee Miguel Tabuena in sudden death in Tarlac, also vowed to complete an unfinished business with a triumphant campaign here, along with a slew of foreign aces, including Solaire Philippine Open champion Steve Lewton, John Catlin, Nicolas Paez and John Michael O’Toole of the US and Korean Park Jun Sung.

Keanu Jahns, who rallied with a solid, eagle-aided 65 to snare solo third at Luisita, is also expected to figure prominently along with fellow locals Ababa, Mars Pucay, Frankie Miñoza, Mhark Fernando, Gerald Rosales, Cassius Casas, Jay Bayron, Rufino Bayron and Elmer Salvador.

After missing the action last week, the crack Thai group is back on the local circuit, all gunning for a crack at the crown, led by Panulat Muenlek, Nitithorn Thippong, Kasidit Lepkurte, Donlapachai Niyomchon, Natthapong Niyomchon, Annop Tangkamolprasert, Poosit Supu­ramai and veteran Wisut Arjanawat.

Former Singapore amateur hotshot Choo Tze-Huang is also in the hunt along with Aussies Jason Dawes, Finland’s Janne Kaske, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and Swede Oskar Arvidson.

The event drew a total of 120 players, one of the biggest and strongest on the local circuit backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.

It also serves as the second of a four-week PGT swing with Southwoods hosting the next stop on May 17 to 20 for another $60,000 ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship before the revival of the P2 million ICTSI Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club on May 24 to 27.

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