Tony Lascuña powered his way to another ICTSI Forest Hills Championship crown, beating Zanieboy Gialon for the second straight year on a closing 70 and a three-stroke victory at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo on Saturday.
Not even a double-bogey on No. 12 could stymie Lascuña’s drive for another championship or fire up Gialon as the latter lost his putting touch after a scorching three-birdie binge from No. 10 that pulled him within three, settling for pars which the former matched all the way to the finish.
“I played according to plan—stay in control and stay focused throughout,” said Lascuña after making it two-in-row here with an 11-under 273 total worth P550,000 he received from ICTSI Public Relations head Narlene Soriano.
Gialon carded a second straight 69 for a 276 and took the P370,000 runner-up prize.
The victory was not as emphatic as his 11-shot triumph over Gialon and Orlan Sumcad last year but it proved to be just as crushing as Lascuña was never seriously challenged after Jhonnel Ababa threatened to within two with a birdie on No. 2 and fell back just as quickly with a double-bogey on the next.
Miguel Tabuena, five behind at the start of the final round of the P3 million event sponsored by ICTSI, tried to give chase with a birdie on the seventh but like Ababa, the young top gun faded with a bogey on the 10th. He ended up with a 71 for third at 279 worth P215,000.
Gialon bounced back from a one-over frontside card with three straight birdies at the back but the recent Calatagan leg winner could only move no closer than three as he slowed down with missed putts and ended up runner-up for the second straight time.
In contrast, Lascuña ran off seven pars to launch his final round charge then closed out the front nine with back-to-back birdies and pulled away by six. He birdied No. 11 to hold off a charging Gialon and though he stumbled with a wet 6 on the par-4 No. 12, he found no need for a spectacular finish, his run of pars securing a follow-up to his Manila Masters victory at Eastridge last April for another championship to his vast trophy collection.
“I was so confident even if I double-bogeyed No. 12,” said Lascuña, whose victory also erased the stigma of a string of runner-up finishes in the three of the last four legs of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
The victory also firmed up Lascuña’s hold of the Order of Merit lead with P1,997,702 in earnings heading to the last six legs of the circuit backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZG, PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.
Ababa hobbled home with a 74 and slid to joint fourth with Nilo Salahog, who rallied with a 67, at 280 worth P230,000 each while Ferdie Aunzo, just one behind Lascuña halfway through the rich event, ended up with a second 73 and fell to sixth at 282. He received P115,000.
Rookie pro Ira Alido made another final round foldup he hoped would toughen him up in his next tournaments, limping with a 77 and tumbling to seventh at 283 worth P100,000.
Jay Bayron rebounded with a 68 and snared eighth place at even 284 while Elmer Salvador carded a 70 for ninth at 285 while Korean Hwang Myung Chal fired a 70 to tie Frankie Miñoza, who made a 72, and Jobim Carlos, who stumbled with a 73, at 286 for joint 10th.