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Bayron grabs lead with 68; Lascuña falters

Rufino Bayron

TAGAYTAY, Philippines — Rufino Bayron hobbled at the finish and barely grabbed the lead with a 68 as Tony Lascuña wavered with a 73 in windy condition at Taal Splendido in the second round of the $100,000 ICTSI Splendido Classic here.

Bayron bogeyed two of the last four holes in a shocking meltdown for a player who impressed the elite PGA Asia Tour field with his awesome shotmaking and superb iron game that netted him a bogey-free 69 Thursday and a six-birdie feat after 14 holes yesterday.

But he succumbed to pressure when the going got tough in the closing holes and stumbled to his first bogey on No. 15 off a bunker play then dropped another shot on the closing hole.

Still, his seven-under 137 shoved him past Lascuña on the leaderboard as the latter slid to second at 138 with a one-over card after a 65 while Jhonnel Ababa also moved into contention with at 139 with three others after a gutsy bogey-less 68 in scorching heat.

“With Lascuña and Ababa, this is going to be a good fight,” said Bayron, who last won in the Orchard Championship in 2014 and missed the cut in the PGT Asia Tour kickoff leg at Southwoods last month. “But I have to play steady and be consistent with my shots.”

After an impressive 65 in the first round and an opening birdie on No. 10 yesterday, Lascuña struggled the rest of the way, limping with five bogeys against three more birdies but fell just by one stroke with 36 holes to play in the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

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American John Michael O’Toole, who matched par 72 in the first day, actually threatened with a six-under after 17 hopes but bogeyed his closing par-5 hole on No. 9 and finished with a 67, dropping to joint third with Ababa, Rene Menor and Micah Shin.

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