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Veteran strikes P2-M pay dirt against tough winds, course, field

Photograph by joey sanchez mendoza for the daily tribune @tribunephl_joey ANTONIO Lascuña celebrates with wife Cheryl and son Antonio III after his stunning TCC victory.

For the past four days, Antonio Lascuña battled against the winds that were as aggressive as the young, driven field.

And when it all died down Friday, he was left standing, clutching the gleaming Don Pocholo Razon Memorial Cup in one hand, and the enlarged paycheck worth P2 million in the other.

Twenty years after capturing the second edition of what will eventually be known as The Country Club Invitational, Lascuña held the championship once again, besting high-flying opponents including Miguel Tabuena.

And as he aced the test of time, Lascuña also contemplated on its passage.

Ibang-iba ang feeling compared noong 2004, madaming magagaling na nandito ngayon. Maiksi din ang course noon pero ngayon, sobrang haba at hirap (It’s a different feeling compared to 2004. There are plenty of good players here now. The course was shorter then, now it’s long and tough),” Lascuña said.

Pero nag-focus ako, binigyan ako ng chance ni Lord at naging maganda ang laro ko buong linggo. (But I just remained focused, the Lord gave me a chance and my game was good all week).”

In the fringes in the first two rounds — while Tabuena was riding high following a sensational opening-round 64 — Lascuña worked his way up to take the driver’s seat on the third day en route to a three-stroke victory.

The 53-year-old displayed consistency amid yet another turbulent weather here, closing with a three-over-par 75.

Very much unlike his flashy third round where he made spectacular shots to grab the lead for good from Tabuena.

Lascuña assembled a three-over 291 total, making the most of the tough course and validating himself against match-play loss last season.

Tabuena fell by as many as four with a bogey on No. 14 but kept his chances as Lascuña bungled the next hole. The former, however, missed a makeable birdie chance on No. 17 and three-putted the 18th, ending up with a second straight 77 for a 294 total. He pocketed P1 million.

Keanu Jahns pulled of the day’s best 70 and snatched third place at 299 to pocket P540,000, while reigning Pilipinas Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Jhonnel Ababa also carded a 77 for fourth place at 300 worth P408,000.

Micah Shin, who won here in 2018, also fought back with a 74 to finish fifth at 303 while erstwhile third-running Lloyd Go stumbled with an 82 to drop to sixth at 305 followed by Rupert Zaragosa and Clyde Mondilla, who tied for seventh at 306 after 75 and 82, respectively.

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