Tony Lascuña birdied two of the par-5s at the back to card a two-under 70, hold off a rallying Elmer Salvador and stretch his lead to three in the third round of the P3 million ICTSI Eagle Ridge Classic at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club in Gen. Trias, Cavite on Thursday.
Playing for only the second time at the wind-raked Aoki layout, Lascuna bucked poor driving with a superb short game and solid putting, coming away with a couple of tap-in birdies coming home to move 18 holes away from nailing his first victory in the early going of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
Lascuña, outplayed flightmates Charles Hong and Carl Santos-Ocampo to build a three-shot cushion with a 210 heading to the final round of this third leg of the circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
A flight ahead and four shots behind Lascuña, Salvador overcame a bogey on the par-5 No. 2 with three birdies in the next seven holes then birdied Nos. 12 and 15 to close within. But the back-to-back Aboitiz Invitational champion hit an errant tee-shot on the par-3 No. 16 for bogey, settling for a 69 and a 213.
Hong wounded up with a 72 but still gained a spot in the championship flight at 214.
With the next player Marvin Dumandan too far behind at 218 after a 75, Lascuna will only have Salvador and Hong—and Aokiçto handle to pocket the top P550,000 purse.
Lascuña held his ground at the challenging Faldo layout with a 71 then surged ahead of the field with a 69 at Norman Wednesday.
The reticent Salvador, who shot a 71 at Norman but stumbled with a 73 at Faldo, rued the tough pin placements and the sleek putting surface of Aoki and, like Lascuña, overcame a shaky stint off the mound with his iron game and steady putting.
Salvador gunned down five birdies inside seven feet but three-putted No. 2 and failed to return a six-footer for par on No. 16.
Santos-Ocampo hobbled with a 76 for a 219, dropping to joint fifth with Manila-based Canadian Rick Gibson, who turned in a 75, while three-time Asian Tour winner Angelo Que failed to sustain a fine 35 start with two bogeys against the same number of birdies at the back for a 71 to tie obscure Nilo Salahog, who also carded a 71, at 220.
Jay Bayron signed for a second 76 after a 69 as he slipped to joint 10th with Frankie Minoza, who made a 75, at 221.