CEBU, Philippines – Elmer Salvador turned a two-man showdown into a one-man show, needing just a gutsy even par 71 to overwhelm Tony Lascuña and capture the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI crown via a six-shot romp at the challenging Cebu Country Club here yesterday.
Salvador lost his overnight one-shot lead early but recovered in time then watched Lascuña fumble and stumble with a birdie-less 76 to fashion out the surprise runaway victory in the seventh leg of the Asian Development Tour sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.
He totaled eight-under 276, anchored by a fiery 65 in the third round, and ran away with the top $11,375 purse (around P477,000) out of the total pot of $65,000, nailing his first international victory after two near-misses on the Asian Tour.
From an awesome 66 Friday that kept him within one off Salvador, Lascuña turned awful, making two bogeys at the front to reel farther back and yielding the crown with a double-bogey mishap on the par-3 15th and another bogey on No. 17.
He wound up with a 282 worth $7,475 and went straight home while trying to figure out what went wrong on a day the par-71 layout – with its unreceptive greens – brought out the best and the worst from the surviving field.
Mars Pucay and Elmer Saban went over par with 72s and shared third place at 285 with each taking home $4,095 while Korean Kim Gi-whan made a 69 for a 286 and emerged the top finisher from among a slew of foreign bets in the event put up by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Jay Bayron, back-to-back winner of this tournament, including last year when it became a leg of the ADT, failed to keep going and settled for sixth with a 70 in a tie with Richard Sinfuego, who also had a 70, at 287.
Rookie Clyde Mondilla shot the day’s best of four-under 67 to snatch solo eighth at 288 while England’s Peter Richardson and Dutch Guido Van der Valk shared ninth place at 289 after a 71 and 73, respectively.
Bracing for a shootout, Salvador found the going tough early, dropping a stroke on the par-5 No. 2 and enabling Lascuña to draw level. But he gained a two-shot swing on No. 5 with a birdie coupled with Lascuña’s flubbed par-putt from six feet.
Regaining his confidence, Salvador made a couple of crucial par putts in the next five holes then went three-up at the turn as Lascuña dropped another stroke on the seventh.
It was more of the same at the back with Salvador mixing one birdie (No. 11) with a bogey (No. 14) and a slew of pars and Lascuña scrambling for pars in the first five holes before giving it all up with a double bogey on the 15th.