BAGUIO CITY – Miguel Tabuena torched the Camp John Hay layout with another bogey-free six-under-par 62, leaving behind Rufino Bayron and Michael Bibat and storming to a three-shot lead over a charging Jhonnel Ababa in the third round of the ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship on Friday.
Tabuena bucked a bum stomach to outplay Bayron and Bibat in the final threesome as he extended his amazing spot-less run to 54 holes while threatening to blow away the field the way he did in the ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour’s kickoff leg at Sherwood Hills last month.
He sank a putt from the fringe on the reachable par-5 16th for an eagle, capping another 62 for a whopping 19-under 185 total in the tournament organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. Tied with Bayron halfway through the P2.5 million event, Tabuena now moved three shots clear of Ababa, who sizzled two flights ahead with an eight-under 60 to take the challenger’s role at 188.
“How I wished it to be a 54-hole tournament,” said Tabuena, referring to this event that was played through 54 holes last year but is now a 72-hole championship and one of the eight P2.5 million tournaments in this year’s ICTSI PGT calendar.
He was grimacing in pain as he turned in his scorecard that nevertheless showed the brilliance in the 18-year-old rising star, who birdied four of the first 10 holes while pulling off awesome flop shots that either set up birdie opportunities and tap-in pars.
Jay Bayron, the reigning Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion, continued his steady rise with a 62, capped by a closing three-birdie binge as he joined today’s final group at 190.
Bibat, just one down behind Tabuena and Rufino Bayron at the start of the round, failed to sustain a three-birdie string from No. 9 and fumbled with three bogeys against two more birdies in the last seven holes for a one-under 67. He dropped to joint fourth with Zanie Boy Gialon, Tony Lascuna and Clyde Mondilla, who shot 62, 63 and 64, respectively, for 191s.
Rufino Bayron, who carded the first 60 in the first round, never recovered from a bogey-bogey start and ended up with a one-over 69 to tumble to eighth at 192 while Elmer Salvador and James Ryan Lam each had a 62 to tie Dutch Guido Van Der Valk, who made a 63, at 193.
Ababa put himself in contention for the top P450,000 purse with a 60 sparked by a sizzling four-birdie start. He also rolled in an eagle from the fringe on the short par-4 No. 8 and had four more birdies to negate two three-putt miscues on another windless day.
“I hope to improve on my putting since this will spell the difference in the final round,” said Ababa.