Lascuna pulls off one-shot victory

    LASCUNA: Savoring big win in Taiwan.
    LASCUNA: Savoring big win in Taiwan.

    TAINAN, Taiwan. — Tony Lascuña came through with two big shots to fend off two gutsy Thai rivals and withstand a charging Taiwanese in a flight ahead, winning the Nan Pao TPGA (PGA of Taiwan) Open crown by one with a bogey-free 70 at the Nan Pao Golf Club here Sunday.

    Those bailout shots bucked the Filipino ace’s errant driving in the last two holes that made the title chase a lot more interesting and gripping as these gave Ratchapol Jantavara and Liu Yu-Jui a share of the lead at 17-under overall and a crack at the crown that remained up for grabs until the final putt.

    But Lascuña proved steadier in the end, coming through with a near-perfect lob shot from 45 yards on No. 17 after hooking his drive near the hazard to salvage a tap-in par, a brilliant save that somehow shattered Jantavara’s confidence as the Thai, who fought back from two strokes down to force a tie with a four-under card after 10 holes, flubbed a four-footer for par to drop back by one.

    Another hooked Lascuna drive on the par-5 18th that rolled under a tree gave the long-hitting Thai – and Liu, who closed out with a 68 ahead of the final group – another shot at the lead. But Lascuña pulled off another spectacular shot – drawing a 9-iron shot from 120 yards that rolled from the front of the green to the right edge then raised his arms in triumph after completing a two-putt par in the $100,000 event which served as the fifth leg of Philippine Golf Tour Asia and sixth stop of TPGA.

    Counting his two birdies at the front, Lascuña closed out with a 34-36 for a 17-under 271 total worth $17,500 in a victory that washed away two years of struggle to regain the form that netted him a number of local titles and three PGT Order of Merit crown from 2013-14 and in 2016.

    “It’s been a long time and what makes this win a lot sweeter was that I made it here in Taiwan,” said Lascuña. “But coming here, I was really confident of my form and my chances.”