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Lascuña storms ahead by 2

Veteran Tony Lascuña kept the ball in play and was rewarded with a two-under par 70 and a two-shot lead halfway through the ICTSI Pradera Verde Championship in Lubao, Pampanga Wednesday.

Lascuña hit all fairways amid swirling winds and relied on his hybrid — and at times 3-wood — in tackling the long par-4s and par-5s.

“This course is really for the long hitters,” conceded Lascuña who made up for what he lacked in power with a solid short game.

“But my hybrid has been working quite well — and my putts are going in.”

He has a 36-hole total of 5-under 139, two strokes ahead of Angelo Que, Art Arbole, and Guido Van der Valk.

Que stayed in the thick of things despite slowing down with a 72 after an opening 69.

“It wasn’t as good as yesterday but even par here is still good,” said Que who mixed two birdies with two bogeys.

“Game plan is still the same — keep the ball in play and give myself chances to make birdies,” said the three-time Asian Tour winner priming up for next week’s LIV-backed Asian Tour events in Morocco and Egypt.

“It was a tough day,” rued Van der Valk who rallied with four birdies from 12 to salvage a 70. “I started to hit better in the last eight holes and was lucky to shoot a 2-under since I didn’t hit it very well.”

Braced for a day-long struggle after missing the first 10 greens, leading to three bogeys against a birdie. “Lots of short game had to be done.”

Arbole, on the other hand, said he was just lucky to be in contention. He rammed in three straight birdies from 12 and added another on the 15.

“My ball-striking got better at the back — driving, second shot, and putting. But it was pure luck to hit four straight birdies,” Arbole said.

Jhonnel Ababa was undone by a double bogey on 16 and settled for a second straight 71 that placed him in joint fifth on142 with Keanu Jahns and Nomura Cup-bound Elee Bisera who shot 70 and 72, respectively.

Reymon Jaraula, a one-time PGT winner at Pueblo de Oro, fired a 69 to gain solo eighth on 143 while Frankie Miñoza wavered with a 74 to slip to joint ninth on 144 with, Mars Pucay, Gerald Rosales and amateur Josh Jorge.

Forty two players, including amateur Jonas Magcalayo (73-148), advanced to the final 36 holes of the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments,Inc.-organized event.

Former Masters titlist Jerson Balasabas and Mark Alcazar clinching the last two spots on 155 after a 74 and 77, respectively.

Among those who missed the cut were Rufino Bayron (77-158), many-time champion Robert Pactolerin (79-159) and former OOM winner Jobim Carlos (83-160).

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