Tony Lascuña gunned down an eagle on No. 17 and took a three-shot lead over Jhonnel Ababa with a five-under 67, putting in motion his bid for the ICTSI Valley Golf Challenge crown halfway through the P2 million event at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo on Thursday.
Feeling recharged after struggling with near-exhaustion in the last nine holes of Wednesday’s opening round, Lascuña put on a fiery performance touched off by a birdie-birdie binge and spiked by an eagle on the par -5 No. 17 to check in with the day’s best round of 33-34.
The late eagle, off a superb 3-wood second shot from 250 yards that rolled past 12 feet off the cup, also made up for his botched eagle-bid on No. 5 where he three putted and settled for a par and a poor decision off the mound on No. 16.
Lascuna had a lone bogey on the 16th where he opted for a 5-wood tee-shot instead of a 3-iron that sailed into the water hazard.
Still, his 67 and an eight-under 136 put him way ahead of the field with Ababa carding a 70 for a 139 and erstwhile leader Cassius Casas bogeying the ninth for a 72 and 140 with two rounds left in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Casas, who showed up the field with an impressive 68 on Wednesday, actually eagled the par-5 11th to hold off a fast charging Lascuna, who birdied the first two holes at the front. But Casas bogeyed two of the next seven holes and hardly recovered with a one-birdie, one-bogey stint at the front for that 72.
Eric Mina bounced back from a 73 with a fighting 68 to move up nine places to fourth at three-under 141 in a tie with Elmer Saban who shot a 70. Carl Santos-Ocampo posted a second straight 71 to be at sixth with a two-under 142.
Korean-American Micah Shin, runner-up at ICTSI Sherwood two weeks ago, carded a 73, Robert Pactolerin and Albin Engino shot identical 70s for 143s while Elmer Salvador, tied with Lascuna and Ababa at second at the start of the day, limped home with a 75 marred by a triple-bogey on par-4 No. 13 to drop to 146.
Long-hitting Orlan Sumcad fired four straight birdies from No. 14 and wound up with a 69 to join Rufino Bayron (73) and Ferdie Aunzo (70) at 10th at 144.
Charles Hong, winner at Sherwood, bounced back from a woeful opening 75 with a 70 for a 145 in a tie with Arnold Villacencio (71), Mars Pucay (72), Clyde Mondilla (72) and Paul Echavez (75) while Miguel Tabuena, who hobbled with a 78 in the first round, shot a 71 for a 149 and safely made the cut at 152.