Tony Lascuña hit two late birdies at dusk and fired an eight-under 64 to wrest a two-shot lead over Mhark Fernando and James Ryan Lam in the weather-delayed first round of the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship at Southwoods’ Legends course in Carmona, Cavite on Wednesday.
Lascuna, seeking an end to five runner-up finishes after romping away with the ICTSI Calatagan crown last May, birdied all the par-5 holes and strung up a pair of 32s, putting to naught a missed-green bogey mishap on No. 15 and setting in motion his back-to-back title bid in the P2.5 million tournament.
Fernando went on a birdie spree at the start, making four straight to open his round before hitting another birdie on the par-3 No. 7. He stumbled with a bogey on the par-5 No. 8 but gunned down two more at the back for a 32-34 and a 66.
He was joined at second by Lam, who turned in his own version of a 66 with an eagle on the par-5 15 that went well with six other birdies against back-to-back bogeys from No. 11.
Lascuna, Fernando and Lam’s late charge relegated the erstwhile frontrunners to joint fourth as organizers let the field complete the round after a two-hour delay due to lightning.
Arnold Villacencio, who missed the cut in half of the first 10 legs of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour, shot a bogey-less 67 with birdies on Nos. 4, 8, 11, 13 and 15 highlighting his 34-33 card which was, however, marred by a three-putt miscue after reaching the par-4 14th in two.
Still, his sterling round should keep Villacencio on track not only for a spot in the final two rounds but also at the crown in the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminals Services, Inc.
No. 35 Rolando Marabe and No. 54 Joey Huerva also carded identical 67s, so did title-hungry Ferdie Aunzo, who had failed to contend again after scoring a breakthrough victory at ICTSI Royal Northwoods in 2010.
Marabe leaned on his short game to complete a 34-33 card, Huerva bounced back strong after a bogey opening for a 33-34 and Aunzo flaunted his putting stroke to match Huerva’s output as the foursome went one-shot up on
Cassius Casas, also out to snap a long title drought, joined the 67 group with a flawless 33-34 card, his first bogey-free round in a long along with Japanese Tomokazu Yoshinaga while Gerald Rosales slowed down after a 32 and wound up with a 68 for solo 10th.
Rufino Bayron, Orlan Sumcad and Jet Mathay carded similar 69s along Carl Santos-Ocampo, coming off an emphatic win at ICTSI Midlands last three weeks ago, ICTSI Sherwood leg winner Miguel Tabuena, Robert Pac-tolerin, Rufino Bayron and Marvin Dumandan.
Frankie Miñoza, the only two-leg winner this year with back-to-back victories at ICTSI Del Monte and ICTSI Pueblo de Oro, bogeyed No. 16 and settled for a two-under 70, while Elmer Salvador groped for form and hobbled with a 73.