MANILA, Philippines -- Angelo Que cashed in on a two-shot swing on the 18th to forge a tie for the lead with fancied Tony Lascuna as they carded identical 70s in ideal condition for a one-stroke lead over three others at the start of the the P2.5-million ICTSI Wack Wack Championship at Wack Wack’s East course on Wednesday.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour leg champion, including a Philippine Open romp here in 2008, birdied the last hole to cap a 34-36 round in the morning session then watched Lascuna hole out with a bogey in one of the late afternoon flights to gain a share of the lead in this final leg of the 15-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
“The conditions are good, the fairways are great and the greens are perfect. Wack Wack did an excellent job of maintaining this course,” said Que, who had two runner-up finishes at Eastridge and Southwoods while spending most of the season campaigning on the Asian Tour.
Lascuna, seeking to cap a sterling campaign on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with a victory in the Order of Merit derby, leaned on a three-birdie string from No. 3 to seize the early lead and set his bid in motion only to fall back with that final-hole bogey that marred his 33-37 card.
Despite his last-hole mishap, the 41-year-old Lascuna said he’s happy with his round.
“I just felt good out there,” said Lascuna, who underwent a swing change midway in the season. “I’m really confident now and playing well with my new swing.”
With all but one of the pre-tournament favorites in the main pack, a wide-open battle for the top P450,000 purse looms in the 72-hole event sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Charles Hong, seeking a follow-up to his maiden win at ICTSI Pueblo De Oro, birdied the par-5 13th to salvage a 71, leading a four-man group of one-under scorers that included the big-hitting Orlan Sumcad, Solomon Gines and James Ryan Lam.
Defending champion Frankie Minoza, who charged back from seven strokes down in the final to win last year’s crown, fought back from a two-over card after four holes with birdies on Nos. 7 and 11 as the two-time Philippine Open winner joined Sherwood and Aboitiz Invitational champion Elmer Salvador, pro-am winner Carl Santos-Ocampo and John Salvador at seventh with 72s.
Jay Bayron, winner of this year’s OOM title on the Asian Development Tour, shot a 73 to lead the group of Terence Macatangay and Arnold Villacencio, while Zanie Boy Gialon, a two-leg winner this year like Lascuna and Salvador, turned in a 74 after bogeying two of the last three holes to drop to joint 15th with Dante Becierra, Christopher delos Santos, Clyde Mondilla, Joenard Rates and Rey Pagunsan.
Teener Miguel Tabuena, another two-leg winner, blew a one-over card after 12 holes as he bogeyed three of the last six to tumble to joint 25th with 76.
Only last year’s OOM champion and Asian Tour No. 1 Juvic Pagunsan strayed too far behind the leaders as he hobbled with an awful seven-under 79 marred by a closing 41 at the front.
The winner of four legs last year, Pagunsan, who made a double-bogey 5 on the tough par-3 No. 8, instead found himself fighting for a berth in the last 36 holes in today’s second round of the four-day championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
The other backers of the event are Empire Golf, Titleist, Footjoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Srixon, Nike Golf, Custom Clubmakers and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23,Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.