MIGUEL Tabuena has a handful of big overseas events to play in the next few weeks but is also looking to play at home as he tries to retain the Philippine Open title in March.
The 22-yeaold Tabuena played in the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii, is set to see action in the Asian Tour and Japan PGA Tour-sanctioned Singapore Open, and the Myanmar Open the following week.
He will then take a break and head to Malaysia for the Maybank Championship, a joint-sanctioned event of the Asian and European Tour, set Feb. 9 to 12.
A tournament in Johannesburg in South Africa is also being considered for Tabuena, who will return home to lead the elite field in the Solaire 99th Philippine Open set March 2 to 5 at the newly refurbished The Country Club in Laguna.
“Yes, I’ll play. This is one tournament very important to me,” Tabuena said.
The Philippine Open is not part of the Asian Tour this year, but Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. is expecting an international field of 120 to 130, including top shotmakers on the Asian Tour and the Asian Development Tour.
“With no Asian Tour tournament scheduled on the Open week, we expect not only the region’s leading players but also those from the other parts of the world to come and play in our premier championship,” said Thomas Arasi, president and chief operating officer of Solaire Resort and Casino, the new title sponsor of the country’s premier golf championship.
Tabuena claimed his Asian tour title in 2015, winning the Philippine Open at Luisita in Tarlac, a tournament reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather.
The event was not held in 2016 but PGTI is putting up a $350,000 tournament this time.
The National Golf Association of the Philippines, the governing body of golf in the country, has given the PGTI, which also organizes the annual ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour and the Ladies PGT, the rights to hold the next two Philippine Open tournaments.
Originally playing at 7237 yards from the back tees, the TCC has been transformed over the past two years into a world-class championship course that could play to 7844 yards.