Ageless Lascuña rules Country Club Invt’l by three

Antonio Lascuña (left) is congratulated by Miguel Tabuena. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Antonio Lascuña (left) is congratulated by Miguel Tabuena. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Twenty years from his first The Country Club win—when the course was a lot shorter and he was one of the young guns on tour—Antonio Lascuña became a two-time champion by being one of the oldest in the field and beating the modern-day face of local professional golf.

“It’s a very different feeling; you can’t compare it,” Lascuña, when asked of the similarities of his 2004 win, told the Inquirer in Filipino after shooting a three-over-par 75 to beat Miguel Tabuena by three shots. “In 2004, the course was a lot shorter and this time, I am playing against young players who hit it far than I can.

“But I have always believed that practice makes you better,” he went on. “So that’s what I do. I never take my practice time for granted. And this is the reward.”

The reward was a cool P2 million after he tallied 291 over hands-down, the toughest test in local golf. Tabuena, who opened the week with a record 64 for a six-shot lead over Lascuña and two others, closed out with a second straight 77.

Lascuña trailed Tabuena by four after the second round before wresting a one-stroke lead on Thursday by matching par. Tabuena obviously didn’t have his best stuff going into the last two days, as, after gunning down nine birdies in the first round, had just an eagle and 11 bogeys in the middle two rounds.

The 7,735-yard layout south of Manila yielded just one sub-par card in the final three days, a closing 70 by Keanu Jahns, who finished eight strokes off with Jonel Ababa shooting a 77 to be another shot back.

The story of the week was the resiliency of Lascuña, a 53-year-old, who beat Angelo Que in 2004, as he tried to keep it close to par in the last 54 holes.

“I just never lost focus, even after I trailed big (after the first 18 holes),” he said. “Making mistakes out here, in these conditions, is normal. It’s on you how you bounce back and recover.”

Micah Shin, the Korean-American who won here in 2018, completed the top five but was 12 shots behind after a 74. INQ

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