Tony Lascuña whisked off an early threat from Elmer Salvador and amateur Lloyd Go with a cluster of birdies from No. 6 then cruised to a four-shot romp with a closing three-under 67 in another dominating performance at the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic in Bacolod on Saturday.
With Salvador and Go pulling to within one from five strokes down with three birdies in the first five holes in separate flights, Lascuña rebounded from a bogey-mishap on No. 4 with birdies on Nos. 6, 7 and 9 and went three-up again with a 33 at the Marapara layout.
It was cruise control from there as Lascuña came through with routine pars and a birdie at the back for a 34 and Salvador and Go, who both made the turn at 31, ran out of steam and firepower and wound up with identical 35s and 66s.
“Elmer and Lloyd threatened in the early going but I made clutch birdies from No. 6 and coasted along at the back,” said Lascuña, who was right on target at 12-under 268 he had predicted to be the winning total in the P1 million event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
The win, adding up to his victories at ICTSI Eagle Ridge and Valley Golf legs of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also primed up Lascuña for the Aboitiz Invitational set next month at Riviera, an Asian Development Tour leg.
“I hope to finally contend for an ADT crown. I had near-misses in the past but never really got into contention in the final round. This time, I think I’m ready,” said Lascuña, who tied for 11th at ADT ICTSI Riviera Classic won by Salvador last May. He didn’t see action in the other ADT event, the ICTSI Orchard Golf Championship won by Rufino Bayron last month.
Lascuña took another P200,000 for his latest feat which also firmed up his hold of the Order of Merit (OOM) lead and a crack at a record third straight OOM crown. Salvador missed clinching solo second with a bogey on the par-5 18th for 272 but still took the P120,000 runner-up prize as Go settled for low amateur honors.
Arnold Villacencio, who finished joint fourth with Lascuna in last week’s ICTSI Iloilo Golf Challenge, matched par 70 and placed fourth again with a 273 worth P65,000 while Ferdie Aunzo fired a 67 and Fil-Am Carl Santos-Ocampo shot a 68 to share fifth place at 274.
Michael Bibat blew a solid four-under card after 10 holes with two bogeys in the last eight and ended up with a 68 for seventh at 275, Orlan Sumcad rallied with a 67 to salvage eighth place at 277 while ICTSI Iloilo leg winner Cassius Casas finally broke par with a 68 to tie Rey Pagunsan, who also shot a 68, at ninth at 279.
Go, who threatened to spoil the big guns’ party with a 66 Friday, sustained his form and even showed up Lascuña and Villacencio in the final flight with back-to-back birdies from No. 2. With Lascuna muffing a par-putt bid from seven feet on the fourth, Go birdied No. 5 to move within one.
A flight ahead, Salvador played pressure-free in the company of Aunzo and Santos-Ocampo, birdying Nos. 2, 4 and 5 to likewise pull within one.
But Lascuna matched Go’s birdie on the sixth then knocked down birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 to regain control at the turn.
That was all he needed to wrap up another win as Go and Salvador failed to mount any serious challenge with both hitting just one birdie against a bogey for even 35s and Lascuna burying an eight-footer for birdie on the par-3 13th to cap his 67.