Lascuña seizes control in ICTSI Open
(The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Tony Lascuña pounded out a gutsy one-under 71 in morning play that the rest of the afternoon group had failed to match in a punishing day at Wack Wack’s East, enabling the reigning three-time Order of Merit champion to grab the lead at the start of the P3.5 million ICTSI Open Championship yesterday.

Zanieboy Gialon used a strong backside start of two birdies to grab the clubhouse lead but like the rest of the 89-starting field, wavered at the tough frontside and missed joining Lascuña at the helm with a 72 in a tie with Charles Hong and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.

Heavy rains that submerged Metro Manila Tuesday night rendered the par-72 layout soggy, forcing the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. to use preferred rules and making it all the more tougher for the men of the tour.

“It only made the course longer, tougher and a lot more difficult to score,” said Lascuña, who actually had a two-under card heading to the last two holes at the front but missed the elevated par-3 No. 8, the course’s signature hole with two deep bunkers on both sides, and made a bogey for a 36-35.

Hong, out to atone for a string of mediocre finishes after topping the inaugural Luisita Championship last May, birdied the 18th while Van der Valk, a former Q-School topnotcher, came through with his strongest start in years – a bogey-birdie effort on Nos. 12 and 14 for a 36-36 card.

Angelo Que teed off late and fumbled with an opening 38 but fought his way back with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 but dropped a stroke on No. 18 and slid to joint fifth with Tonlits Asistio, Jun Bernis, John Rey Pactolerin and former leg winners Mars Pucay and Joenard Rates.

“Wack Wack has always been a tough course and it’s playing longer than usual,” said Que, who won the Philippine Open here in 2008. “My round went pretty well. I hit it good and putted well but will need a little more luck.”

But good fortunes almost always fall on truly talented players with Lascuña hoping to build some momentum from his opening 71 that proved to be the best in such harsh condition.

“The lift-clean-place rule hardly matters in such condition. The fairways are tight and an errant shot will surely put you in trouble and it’s difficult to come up with recovery shots,” said Lascuña, the pro-am winner who spiked his round with a couple of scrambling pars.

Like Que, Miguel Tabuena struggled early with a 39 but birdied the 10th before settling for pars the rest of the way for a 74 for a share of 11th with Rufino Bayron, Mhark Fernando, Solomon Gines and Orlan Sumcad while Korean Gyuha Park and Pedo Repato turned in identical 75s in what loomed to be a wide-open battle for the top P650,000 purse in the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

Elmer Salvador, No. 4 in the OOM ranking, stumbled with four bogeys with no birdie to show for a 76 to fall in the company of Miko Alejandro, Albin Engino, Clyde Mondilla and Robert Pactolerin, while Cassius Casas, winner of the Phl Open here in 2001, blew an opening 35 at the back with a closing 42 marred by two double bogeys in the last three holes for a 77.

ACIRC ALBIN ENGINO ANGELO QUE ATILDE CASSIUS CASAS CHARLES HONG AND DUTCH GUIDO VAN CLYDE MONDILLA AND ROBERT PACTOLERIN ELMER SALVADOR INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES LASCU WACK WACK
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