MURCIA, Negros Occidental – Juvic Pagunsan picked up an easy seven-shot win over Rufino Bayron yesterday in the P2.5-million ICTSCI Bacolod Golf Challenge ahead of his title defense in nearby Marapara next week.
Four shots ahead of Bayron and Marcos Pastor at the start of the final round, Pagunsan actually dropped a shot after six holes, enabling the Spanish ace to pull within one with birdies on Nos. 2 and 5.
But Pagunsan rattled off three straight birdies from No. 7 to go three-up again on Pastor before putting the outcome beyond doubt with a birdie on the 12th and another three-birdie binge from No. 14.
“I was a bit nervous at the start but after I birdied No. 7, I kind of regained my confidence and got my game back,” said Pagunsan, who finished with a 20-under 260 that included 68 and 65 in the first two rounds before seizing firm control with a 63 Friday, in Filipino.
The victory, worth P450,000, marked the Japan PGA Tour-based shotmaker’s return to the circuit put up by ICTSI and boosted his stock going to next week’s Negros Occidental Classic which he won via sudden death over Jobim Carlos last year.
Bayron hit just one birdie in 12 holes but gunned down three in the next five and took solo second at 267 despite a bogey on the 18th for a 67 for his best finish, worth P320,000.
Ira Alido had an eagle-spiked 66 and finishing tied for third with Richard SInfuego at 269. They split the combined P320,000 purse
Sinfuego also ended a long string of poor finishes with a closing five-under card sparked by four birdies at the front while Aussie Fidel Concepcion likewise rode on a four-under card at the front then hit another birdie on No. 15 only to reel back with a double-bogey on the 17th for a 67. He placed solo fifth at 270.