TONY Lascuna marked his return to the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour in smashing fashion, closing with an eagle-aided 69 to win by seven strokes in the Valley Golf Challenge on Saturday at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo.
Lascuna, who was out of the country for three weeks to compete on the Asian Tour, scored in the 60s in all four days, with earlier rounds of 69-67-67 for a 16-under 272 total to bag the top prize of P360,000.
Jhonnel Ababa had a closing 69 for a 279 total and won P250,000.
Lascuna, the money list leader bogeyed the opening hole but birdied No. 3 from four feet then came through with a pitch-in eagle from 60 yards on the par-5 No. 5. He dropped another stroke on No. 8 but hit back-to-back birdies from No. 11.
“With a seven-shot lead, I knew it would be tough to beat so I played pressure-free all throughout,” said Lascuna, who hiked his earnings to P1,245,000.
It was Lascuna’s first win on the domestic tour this season after placing fourth at Splendido and second at John Hay.
The win also gives Lascuna a confidence boost ahead of the $300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open set next week at Wack Wack’s East Course.
Lascuna also said wife Cheryl Alferez, who is pregnant, may have been bringing him good luck.
“She’s five months pregnant with our second child and they really bring good luck to my games with good results since the start of the year,” said Lascuna, who earned P1 million for finishing joint 11th in last week’s The Championship in Singapore.
Cassius Casas hobbled with a 73 but still placed third at 283 and bagged P140,000. Miguel Tabuena fired a 70 to salvage joint fourth with Mars Pucay, who carded a 71, at 285. Each got P102,000.
Eric Mina shot a 70 and ended up sixth at 286 and bagged P78,000, while Ferdie Aunzo rallied with a 70 to share seventh place with Albin Engino and Elmer Saban, who matched par 72s, and Micah Shin, who sputtered with a 75, at 287s. They each won P54,500 in the tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., and backed by Nike Golf, KZG, Titleist, Cleveland, Pacsports, Srixon, Callaway, Sharp, FootJoy and Custom Clubmakers.