Golf Tour

Highly-charged start looms as ICTSI Luisita unfolds

Tony Lascuna hopes to cash in on his fiery form in quest for a second straight PGT championship

Unfazed by the depth of talent in the ICTSI Luisita Championship roster, Tony Lascuña expects to be in the mix early, armed with a form honed through years of practice and hard work and a confidence boosted by a recent win.

But the multi-titled Davaoeño would need more than everything to score a repeat over the cream of the country’s pro crop, made up of fellow Philippine Golf Tour leg winners Ira Alido and Rupert Zaragosa, The Country Club Invitational back-to-back champion Guido van der Valk and Asian Tour campaigners Angelo Que, Lloyd Go and Miguel Tabuena.

Add club pro Clyde Mondilla and fellow veterans Jhonnel Ababa, Zanieboy Gialon, Michael Bibat, Reymon Jaraula, Jay Bayron and Marvin Dumandan and young guns Sean Ramos, Gabriel Manotoc, Kristoffer Arevalo, Josh Jorge, Russell Bautista, Elee Bisera, Jonas Magcalayo and Korean Rho Hyun Ho, a scramble of a start today (Tuesday) indeed looms in the P2 million champion at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here.

“I’m always ready. Daily practice keeps me in good shape,” said Lascuña, also one of the swing coaches at Manila Southwoods. “Kung ibibigay sa akin ni Lord, thank you, kung hindi okay lang. Basta alam ko lagi akong may laban.”

So do the rest of the 63-player starting field all geared up for four days of battle of shotmaking, iron play, putting and wits on an exacting course that also puts premium on accuracy and decision-making.

Lascuña last won at Luisita in 2016 when he turned what was expected to be a wild finish into a runaway victory with a closing 65. But he has not seriously figured in the title race at the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed layout since, ending up tied at fifth in last year’s edition won by Tabuena via sudden death over Mondilla.

But given his vintage performances the last two months that saw him post back-to-back runner-up finishes in Bacolod and Iloilo and score a three-shot romp over Que and Go at Caliraya, Lascuna easily sets out as the marked player in the fourth leg of this year’s circuit put up by ICTSI.

But Mondilla, Que and Go are all hungry to join Alido, Zaragosa and van der Valk in the list of this year’s leg winners and Tabuena back to defend the crown and a slew of others, including the young guns, raring to spoil the fancied bets’ respective bids.
Mondilla, for one, hopes to get the job done after a couple of final round struggles in Bacolod and Caliraya, exuding confidence of a successful showing on a course which he also calls home and where he last reigned in 2018.

But Que is also due for a big finish and Go is out to nail the elusive first win, ensuring a highly-charged kickoff to the 72-hole championship featuring one of the strongest casts in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

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