TAGAYTAY – Carl Santos-Ocampo ended a year-long wait for a second career title, posting a second straight seven-under 65 to overwhelm Tony Lascuña and clinch the ICTSI Midlands crown by six shots at the Midlands layout on Friday.
Santos-Ocampo rattled off four birdies in the first six holes to turn a one-stroke lead over the reigning Order of Merit champion into a comfortable three-shot cushion at the turn then added three more birdies for good measure at the back to pull away from a star-studded field.
Counting his opening 70, the Fil-Am shotmaker finished with a 54-hole haul of 16-under 200 to outclass Lascuna, who closed out with 70 for a 10-under 206.
“It’s an amazing feeling to get the job done this week especially against the top Asian Tour Filipino players,” said Santos-Ocampo after pocketing the top P200,000 purse.
What made the win doubly impressive was that Santos-Ocampo, who posted his maiden win at ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes last year, did the feat without dropping a shot in the last 36 holes. Frankie Miñoza made one bogey in the last two rounds in winning the ICTSI Del Monte crown and dropped three strokes in the same stretch to dominate the ICTSI Pueblo de Oro leg both last July.
“He was simply amazing. Halos lahat ng palo solid, daming birdie putts,” said Lascuna, who settled for another runner-up finish worth P120,000 after losing the crown to Thai Sattaya Supupramai at ICTSI Classic early this month.
ICTSI Sherwood winner Miguel Tabuena rallied with a second 68 to finish tied for third at 207 with Randy Garalde, who held his ground and wound up with a 70 for a rare top 3 finish in the circuit.
Jay Bayron shot a 71 for solo fifth at 209 while Michael Bibat, who recorded his maiden win at Rancho Palos Verdes, ended up sixth at 210 after a 70.
Rey Pagunsan appeared headed for a big finish in years with a two-under card after 11 holes only to fumble with three bogyes in the last seven and hobbled with a 73. He dropped to joint seventh at 211 with Marvin Dumandan, who rallied with a 68, and Aboitiz Invitational back-to-back champion Elmer Salvador, who limped with a 73.
Rufino Bayron matched Santos-Ocampo’s fiery 65 to salvage a share of 10th with Benjie Magada and Nilo Salahog, who turned in 71 and 73, respectively, for 212s.