Just when the rest had virtually conceded the ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational crown to Miguel Tabuena, veteran Tony Lascuña knocked in one solid, fiery round in the wind that reminded everyone that all is not lost.
In fact, he put himself in a position to win.
Lascuna recalled his fierce fighting form and shot a bogey-free seven-under 65 then watched Tabuena crumble at the finish for a 77, turning an eight-shot deficit into a four-stroke lead in the most stunning one-day reversal involving marquee players in the seven-year history of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
“My driving and irons clicked even at the tougher backside,” said Lascuna, who spiked his stirring round with an eagle on the par-5 10th, his 33-32 card giving him a 54-hole aggregate of 11-under 205.
Lascuña’s 65 fell short of Tabuena’s record setting 62 Wednesday but it proved enough to lift him from eight back to four up heading to the final 18 holes of the P3.5 million championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Tabuena, who led Jay Bayron by six in the first two days and Lascuna by eight halfway through, actually bounced back from an awful 40 start with back-to-back birdies from No. 10 to negate Lascuna’s eagle and keep a one-stroke edge. But Lascuna birdied Nos. 13 and 16 to move ahead then went four-up after Tabuena dropped three shots on the par-4 17th on an errant drive in an unlikely foldup for a young player who dominated the elite field with his brilliant shotmaking, iron play and putting in the first two days.
“I couldn’t do right out there. I missed too many short games and I hit only 12 greens. I was terribly disappointed because it happened in the most crucial part of the tournament,” rued Tabuena.
He signed for a 77 for a 209 although he still has 18 holes to recover and save the tournament that once appeared his for the taking.
“Golf is unpredictable. It always happens, sometimes you play good, sometimes bad,” added Tabuena.
Lascuna hopes to break that line with another solid finish in the event backed by Adidas, TaylorMade, Pacsports Phils., Custom Clubmakers, KZG, Sharp and Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club.
“A four-stroke lead isn’t safe here at Anvaya where anything can happen, especially at the back. I just hope to play this good again tomorrow (today),” said Lascuna.
Japanese Toru Nakajima carded a 71 to join Bayron, who fumbled with a 73, at 211, six shots behind, while Dutch Guido Van der Valk shot a 70 for fifth at 213 followed by Clyde Mondilla, who turned in a 71 for a 214, Korean Park Min Ung, who had a 215 after a 73; Cassius Casas, Omar Dungca and Charles Hong who had 70, 73 and 74, respectively, for 217s; and Korean Anthony Kim and Orlan Sumcad, who had 219s after a 71 and 72, respectively.
Defending champion Angelo Que finally broke par but his 71 could only lift him to joint 16th at 221 with Zanieboy Gialon (69), Joenard Rates (74), Randy Garalde (76), James Lam (77) and Mars Pucay (77) behind the 220 scorers, including Rene Menor (71), Canadian Rick Gibson (73) and John Jackson of the US (74).