TONY Lascuña shot a one-under 71 in morning play that the rest of the afternoon group failed to match in a punishing day at Wack Wack’s East at the start of the P3.5 million ICTSI Open Championship on Wednesday.
Zanieboy Gialon started on the back nine and had two birdies but like the rest of the 89-starting field, wavered on the front nine and missed joining Lascuna at the helm with a 72 in a tie with Charles Hong and Dutch Guido Van der Valk.
The par-72 course was playing longer due to heavy rains on Tuesday night.
“It only made the course longer, tougher and a lot more difficult to score,” said Lascuña, who actually had a two-under card heading to the last two holes at the front but missed the elevated par-3 No. 8, the course’s signature hole with two deep bunkers on both sides, and made a bogey for a 36-35.
“The lift-clean-place rule hardly matters in such condition. The fairways are tight and an errant shot will surely put you in trouble and it’s difficult to come up with recovery shots,” said Lascuna.
Hong, out to atone for a string of mediocre finishes after topping the inaugural Luisita Championship last May, birdied the 18th while Van der Valk, a former Q-School topnotcher, came through with his strongest start in years – a bogey-birdie effort on Nos. 12 and 14 for a 36-36 card.
Angelo Que teed off late and fumbled with a 38, fought his way back with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 but dropped a stroke on No. 18. The former Philippine Open champion shared fifth spot with Tonlits Asistio, Jun Bernis, John Rey Pactolerin and former leg winners Mars Pucay and Joenard Rates.
“Wack Wack has always been a tough course and it’s playing longer than usual,” said Que, who won the Philippine Open here in 2008. “My round went pretty well. I hit it good and putted well but will need a little more luck.”
Miguel Tabuena shot a 74 for a share of 11th with Rufino Bayron, Mhark Fernnado, Solomon Gines and Orlan Sumcad, while Korea’s Gyuha Park and Pedo Repato turned in identical 75s in the tournament sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Elmer Salvador, No. 4 in the money list, stumbled with four bogeys with no birdie to show for a 76 to fall in the company of Miko Alejandro, Albin Engino, Clyde Mondilla and Robert Pactolerin.
Cassius Casas, winner of the Philippine Open in 2001 at Wack Wack, suffered two double bogeys in the last three holes for a 77.
Worse was Jay Bayron, winner of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour leg at Summit Point last month, who limped with a birdle-less 41 at the back and hardly recovered with a 37 ruined by two closing bogeys for a 78, leaving himself much work to do before the cut is made in the event backed by Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Nike Golf, PacSports, Callaway, Srixon, KZG, Sharp and Foot Joy.