Tabuena unseats Lascuña to rule rain-drenched ICTSI Match Play

Tabuena unseats Lascuña to rule rain-drenched ICTSI Match Play
Miguel Tabuena reacts after pulling off an eagle in Hole 14.
Pilipinas Golf

SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Miguel Tabuena departed from his usual narrative of dramatic come-from-behind victories, opting for an aggressive stance early on as he dethroned Tony Lascuña with a masterstroke of a 4&3 victory for the ICTSI The Country Club Match Play Invitational crown here Friday.

Unlike in his quarterfinals and the semifinals escapes Thursday, where he rallied from a four-hole deficit with eight to play to stun Angelo Que, 1-up, and fought back from two holes down after 13 holes to edge Justin Quiban on the 20th, Tabuena took control from the onset against the inaugural champion, going 2-up after six holes in a rainy final round battle.

He won No. 7, yielded the next and maintained his dominance until the 11th, seizing the opportunity to extend his lead and leaving Lascuña struggling to regain his earlier form, having previously disposed of Marvin Dumandan, 3&1, in the quarters, and dominated Elmer Salvador, 3&1, in the semis.

But even if Lascuña had managed to reclaim his rhythm, the seasoned Davaoeño campaigner would have faced a formidable challenge against Tabuena, who, in a display of remarkable shotmaking and putting, added the finishing touches to an extraordinary week. The latter conquered the elements and mastered one of the country’s most formidable courses while fighting off fatigue.

Tabuena came through with another amazing chip-in birdie on No. 14 to go 4-up and matched Lascuna’s output on the next to wrap up the championship worth P280,000 in a victory that augured well for his LIV Golf qualifying bid in Abu Dhabi next month.

“Right now, I am currently tired, it’s been a long week with 38 holes yesterday. So it’s important for me to recover well last night,” said Tabuena. “But I’m happy to come out on top, it’s definitely a confidence-booster heading to my last tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi in a week’s time.”

“So I’m pretty happy with where I’m hitting it. I tried out some shots today (yesterday) that I could use next week,” added Tabuena, who also relished the chance to play with the four-time Order of Merit winner again.

“I haven’t played with Tony in over a year, so it’s nice to share the round with him today,” said Tabuena.

Lascuna, who romped off with a 4&3 win over Keanu Jahns in last year’s inaugurals of the event, put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc., took home P200,000.

“This course fits me,” said Tabuena, who won the TCC Invitational and the 100th Solaire Philippine Open, both in 2018. “It suits the longer hitters and this year has been a pretty good year for me.”

“I was happy with the way I was hitting coming into this event. It’s been a great year on the Asian Tour especially, I’m ranked No. 2 now, so I believe in my game now and I had an edge this week,” added the 29-year-old ace, who thanked God and his team, including his sister-caddie Dani, for his latest feat.

Earlier, Justin Quiban shook off a shaky start before winning five in a six-hole stretch from No. 8 as he turned a 1-up lead to a 6&5 victory over Elmer Salvador in their battle for third in the P2 million championship backed by the PGT’s official golf apparel Kampfortis Golf.

The South Pacific leg champion received P150,000 while Salvador earned P100,000 in a strong finish for the multi-titled campaigner making a comeback after a two-year absence.

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