TONY Lascuña hit a curling 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a three-under 67 and a one-stroke lead after the third round of the P5 million The Country Club Invitational on Saturday in Canlubang, Laguna.
Last year’s top money earner on the domestic tour hit three birdies in a bogey-free round to move to seven-under 203.
Cassius Casas hit an eagle-2 on No. 5 but went on a rollercoaster finish of two birdies and two bogeys for a 68 and a 204 total.
“Fight tayo and I feel I have a big chance to win here again,” said Casas, winner in 2003, who punched in an eagle from a tough lie after an errant drive on No. 5.
Overnight leader Rey Pagunsan struggled to a 71 and wound up two strokes behind Lascuna.
“Cassius and Rey have the edge here since they are long-hitters. Pero gagamitan ko na lang ng diskarte,” said Lascuna, winner in 2004.
“Di naman paramihan ng birdie dito kasi mahirap na course ito.”
Lady amateur Princess Superal, who surprised the field with a flawless 67 on Thursday, turned in a 71 but fell seven shots off the pace at 210.
Mars Pucay stood at 211 after a 72, while Rufino Bayron shot bogey-free 68 and moved up to joint sixth at 213 with Zanie Boy Gialon, who matched par 70.
Jhonnel Ababa carded a 71 for a 214, while Michael Bibat fired a 69 for a 215 total.
Last year’s champion Minoza fired a was also at 215 after a 70, and was in a group that included Anthony Fernando, who made a 75, and three-time champion Angelo Que, who failed to sustain a birdie-birdie start and finished with a 72.