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Sports

Pagunsan triumphs in wild finish

The Philippine Star
Pagunsan triumphs in wild finish
Juvic Pagunsan.
STAR / File

SILANG, Cavite, Philippines — Juvic Pagunsan put an epic ending to a wild ICTSI Riviera Championship with a delicate par-putt from pin-length high on the first playoff hole as he foiled Tony Lascuña and regained the crown he emphatically won in stormy conditions at the Langer course here three years ago.

“Mahirap this time, hindi ko alam kung papano laruin ang Riviera. May time na malakas ang hangin, minsan mahina naman. Yung greens, unpredictable din,” said Pagunsan, who rallied with a two-under 34 at the back of the par-71 course to salvage a 71 and force a playoff at five-over 289 as Lascuna missed clinching it outright with a costly double-bogey miscue on the 18th for a 69.

“Nagkataon lang na napagbigyan ako na makahabol,” added  the former Asian Tour No. 1 who took home P360,000.

Lascuna earned P236,000 while Zanieboy Gialon carded a 73 and grabbed solo third at 290.

Fidel Concepcion emerged the surprise first round leader, yielded it to Guido Van der Valk in the next before regaining it in moving day Saturday. The Dutchman, however, wrested control early in the final round, fended off a slew of threats that came from at least five aces before wilting under extreme pressure, leading to a pair of double bogeys in the stretch.
Six shots behind after 54 holes, Lascuna got into the mix with three birdies in the first 10 holes.

In a flight behind, Pagunsan, four down with 18 holes to play, came out of a harrowing frontside stint that had him yielding three strokes in the last four holes at the front after a birdie on the par-3 No. 4. He even threw the ball into the hazard in disgust after missing a short par-putt on the ninth but regrouped at the back with two birdies to rescue an even-par round and earn a shot at the crown.

JUVIC PAGUNSAN

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