TONY Lascuña came up with second-round three-under 69 at the Norman course to take a two-stroke lead over Charles Hong as erstwhile joint leaders Jay Bayron and Marvin Dumandan tumbled at the tougher Faldo layout on Wednesday in the P3 million ICTSI Eagle Ridge Classic at the Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
Lascuna, who had an opening-round 71 at Faldo, came through with solid approach shots that set up four birdies inside five feet in scorching heat then rescued all but one par in four times that he went out of regulation for nines of 34-35 and a 36-hole total of 140.
Hong birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to fire a 70 also at Norman, taking the challenger’s role at 142.
Dumandan faltered early and barely recovered with a 74 for a 143 total, and Bayron wavered coming home for a 76 for a 145.
“Mabuti at walang masyadong hangin sa Norman, mas madali ang diskarte sa putt, hindi malikot,” said Lascuna, looking to score his first win of the Philippine Golf Tour season after placing fourth at Splendido and second at John Hay. “Sobrang ganda dito (Norman) unlike sa Faldo na mahihirap ang pin placements.”
Of the 47 players who played at Faldo on Wednesday, no one scored under par with two 73s proving to be the best, including one turned by Elmer Salvador that put him in joint fifth.
He was at 144, tied with Dante Becierra, who fumbled with a 74, and Canadian Rick Gibson, who shot a 71, both at Norman.
Dumandan made par on the first nine holes but lost his way trying to hit the pins at the back nine, resulting in bogey on the first two holes and another dropped shot on No. 15 although he birdied the 18th to salvage a 74.
“Di ko inaasahan na ilalagay ang pins sa mga pwesto na hindi namin napraktis. Sobrang hirap. halos lahat nasa slope. Kundi alanganin na downhill, delikadong uphill naman,” rued Dumandan, who dropped to joint third at 143 with Carl Santos-Ocampo, who made a 70 at Norman.
Bayron was three-over after 11 holes but recovered with birdie on No. 13 and an eagle on the next. But the ICTSI Splendido leg champion later struggled and holed out with a double-bogey off an errant drive for a 76. He slipped to eighth at 145.
Frankie Miñoza made a second 73, this time at Norman, and stayed in the hunt at 146.
Jhonnel Ababa had 73 at Norman and Paul Echavez scored 74 at Faldo for a share of 10th place at 147 heading to the final 36 holes of the event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Unheralded Rico Depilo shot the other 73 at Faldo for a 148, the same output put in by Orlan Sumcad, who hobbled with 77, also at Faldo.
Angelo Que also struggled at the demanding Faldo layout and had a 77 for a 149, tied with Miguel Ochoa (77-Faldo), Joey Huerva (75-Faldo) and Michael Bibat (74-Norman).
Jun Rates, the surprise winner at ICTSI John Hay, scored a 74 at Norman and stood 10 strokes off Lascuna at 150.
Young gun Miguel Tabuena had a 73 at Norman to join Korean Gyuha Park (78-Faldo), Eric Mina (77-Faldo), Chris delos Santos (76-Faldo), Anthony Fernando (73-Norman), Clyde Mondilla (80-Faldo) at 151.
The dreaded Dye course was supposed to be the third round venue but Eagle Ridge general manager Raymond Bunquin said “the greens and bunkers of Dye are too firm and would be unfair for the golfers to play on,” forcing them to hold the last two rounds at Aoki for the 42 survivors who made the cut at 155 in the tournament also backed by Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp and FootJoy and media partners Balls TV and ABS-CBN.
“Ok lang sa Aoki at lamang na tayo pero tuloy-tuloy ang laban kasi dikit-dikit ang scores,” said Lascuna, who birdied No. 1 from three feet, rolled in a 12-footer on the third before dropping a stroke on No. 6 after missing a five-footer. But he struck with another four-footer for birdie on the seventh and tapped in for another birdie on No. 17 to go with his par saves on Nos. 2, 4 and 8.