Lascuña eyes sweep of PGT Riviera crowns
Tony Lascuna

Lascuña eyes sweep of PGT Riviera crowns

Dante Navarro (Philstar.com) - December 1, 2020 - 10:35am

MANILA, Philippines – Tony Lascuña hopes to brandish the form he dished out the first time out and close out the two-tournament Philippine Golf Tour bubble the way he started it — blasting the opposition with his A-game.

But heading to the ICTSI Riviera Championship, which reels off December 8 at Riviera's Langer course, the multi-titled shotmaker believes he will need to get better and a lot tougher, given the expected surge of his rivals out to foil his sweep bid on a course so exacting where no one holds a distinct advantage.

The three-week break after dominating the ICTSI Riviera Invitational Challenge, which he ruled by four over Ira Alido and Rupert Zaragosa at the adjacent Couples layout, has given Lascuña enough time to sharpen up his short game and putting, so do the rest of practically the same field that saw action in PGT's resumption after a long eight-month hiatus due to coronavirus pandemic.

That should guarantee a spirited, furious battle in all four days for the top P350,000 purse out of the total P2.5 million prize fund put up by ICTSI to likewise help provide something for the pros for the coming holidays.

Trading length for accuracy, Lascuña stalked the leaders in the first two rounds of the Riviera Invitational, took control in the pivotal third day then cruised to the win in a victory that was more than a triumph of the spirit for the veteran campaigner whose work ethics, sheer determination and will power remain the envy of his peers and inspiration for the Tour’s rising stars.

He also makes it a point to share his expertise with the young and old alike, squeezing out time to teach at Manila Southwoods’ driving range in between training and practice rounds.

“I love to teach and the sport just continues to grow and grow through the years with more and more youngsters willing to learn and become good, strong players someday,” said Lascuña.

But a tougher challenge awaits the four-time PGT Order of Merit winner with the likes of Alido, Zaragosa, along with Justin Quiban, Fidel Concepcion, Michael Bibat, Albin Engino and Gerald Rosales, all pumped-up not just to stop Lascuña but also to fuel their own respective drive in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

However, Joenard Rates, who led in the first round of PGT restart before finishing tied for fifth, has begged off due to hand injury.

Former Philippine Open champions Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena, meanwhile, are also setting out for stronger, if successful finish after placing fourth and tied for seventh place finishes, respectively, at Couples.

They, however, will have to tone down their power to achieve driving and shot accuracy and consistency required on a tight, hazard-laden layout as the par-71 Langer.

But there sure are some holes that would need to be attacked although it goes with the risk of falling into bunkers and hazards that come into play in most holes, especially if the wind come into play.

Others out for a fightback are Dutch Guido Van der Valk, former OOM titlist Jobim Carlos, Korean Park Jun Sung, Zanieboy Gialon, Dino Villanueva, Rico Depilo, James Ryan Lam, Jhonnel Ababa, Rey Pagunsan and Jay Bayron.

Like in the PGT start, all players will return to a set of rules and safety protocols, including swab tests and restricting the players’ movements inside the tournament hotel and venue. For details, visit www.pgt.ph.

GOLF TONY LASCUNA
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