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Sunday January 13, 2013

Lascuna beats Mardan to grab his first Asean PGA Tour title at Sabah Masters

PETALING JAYA: Filipino Antonio Lascuna ended a frustrating five-year title drought when he clinched his first Asean PGA Tour title after a sudden-death playoff in the US$75,000 Sabah Masters at the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club in Kota Kinabalu.

The 42-year-old Lascuna beat favourite Mardan Mamat of Singapore on the third hole of the sudden-death playoff in the final event of the 2012-2013 Asean PGA Tour season.

Lascuna began the day five shots adrift of Mamat, who led in the first three rounds, but stormed through with a five-under 66. Mamat closed with a 71.

The two players finished the tournament tied on 11-under 273.

Lascuna’s magical short game carried him to victory on the par-four 18th.

He made a brilliant sand save on his 72nd hole and when they returned to the 18th for the playoff, he made superb pars on the first two extra holes.

Mamat found the water with his second shot on the third extra hole to hand victory to his Filipino opponent.

“I’m really excited. It’s a relief to finally win. It was a great battle with Mardan, who kept giving me chances,” said Lascuna, who has won 18 times on the Philippines’ domestic circuit.

The Filipino first started playing on the Asean PGA Tour in 2008, accumulating two second-placed finishes, a couple of third placings and a total of nine top fives.

“I always told myself to be patient and not force things. I felt that a win would come, eventually,” said Lascuna, who earned US$12,918.

Filipino Anthony Fernando, joint second here in 2011, shot a 65 to claim sole possession of third place.

There was also joy for Malaysian Nicholas Fung, who finished the season as the Order of Merit winner after ending in eighth position.

Nicholas carded a 74 and the Kota Kinabalu-born golfer finished the season with winnings of US$31,884.

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul, who beat Nicholas in Thailand, took second place with earnings of US$28,742.

The next Asean PGA Tour event will be the season-opening Singha Esan Open from Feb 14-17. The US$65,000 tournament will be played at the Singha Park Golf Club in Khon Kaen.

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