ANGELO Que wielded a hot putter and came up with a sizzling start, while Miguel Tabuena shook off the effects of foodborne illness to stand close to the leaders on Thursday in the first round of the Maybank Championship Malaysia.
Que shot seven birdies against a lone bogey for a 65, just a stroke off leader Nathan Holman of Australia, who had a bogey-free round at Royal Selangor Golf Club.
Winner of three Asian Tour titles but not since six years ago, Que took only 25 putts to get into contention early in the US$3 million tournament co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The Filipino shares second spot with Danny Willett and Tommy Fleetwood of England, Peter Uihlein of the US, Alexander Levy of France and Jorge Campillo of Spain.
“I holed a lot of putts and that’s what you need to do in a tournament, especially on this course. I did that today,” Que told asiantour.com.
“It is hard to hit it close if you miss the fairways. Luckily for me, I read the lines and holed my putts,” he added.
Interestingly, Que’s win in 2010 was also in Malaysia, the Selangor Masters.
“I like old style layouts where you have to work the ball a little bit. The course isn’t that long and I like that. Malaysia has been good to me. I played well a lot here in Malaysia in the past 14 years,” added the Filipino.
Tabuena, who planned to pull out of the tournament after coming down with food poisoning on Tuesday, shot five-under-par 66.
Winner of the Philippine Open last year, Tabuena hit six birdies and one bogey to stand just two strokes off the pace.
He was in a tie for eighth with Thai stars Prom Meesawat and Thonghcai Jaidee, among others.
“I’m really happy with my round. I wasn’t 100 percent and I’ll take anything under par. I think I ate something wrong on Tuesday and when I got back to the hotel, I felt really sick. I went to the clinic in the hotel and they said it was food poisoning,” Tabuena told the asiantour.com.
“I was in bed the whole of Wednesday and the good thing was that I had a late tee time today for some extra rest. I was really, really sick both ways on Wednesday and Tuesday. I thought of withdrawing but you don’t want to miss a prestigious event like this.
“It’s one of the biggest events we have and I’m glad I shot five under. I was really weak this morning.”
Tabuena was glad playing partners David Howell and Natipong Srithong were patient with him during the round.
“I just told myself to keep it on the fairway and attack when I could and not force anything. Sometimes you really play well like that. I’m glad I didn’t force anything. I hit more fairways than usual which helps on this golf course,” said Tabuena.
“I was like 65 percent. I clubbed up one in almost every shot. I felt weak. It was a bit overcast and we got a bit of rain which helped. I did feel faint out there and I had to go to the bathroom four times. My playing partners were really helpful and told me to take my time as they hit ahead of me.”
“I’ll be glad to shoot anything under par. Hopefully I can still be in position on Saturday and Sunday. I would like to get into position to win this.”