MIGUEL Tabuena is eager to make it all the way to the top after strong finishes in two Asian Tour events and second place in last week’s The Country Club Invitational.
The 24-year-old Tabuena is eyeing a second Solaire Philippine Open title, and he is working on his game in anticipation of a much tougher battle in the country’s premier championship next week at the TCC in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“My game has to be ready. So I have to go back to the drawing board and play better because that’s more of an international field,” said Tabuena after falling short of his title-repeat drive in the TCC Invitational, losing by one to Korean-American Micah Shin.
Tabuena joined the elite list of Philippine Open winners with victory at Luisita in 2015 when the event was reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather.
The Rio Olympian believes he’s ready for another shot at the crown, and he’s preparing to go the full route in the $600,000 event backed by title sponsor Solaire Resort and Casino.
“I’m actually happy overall with my game. I’ve been playing solid,” said Tabuena, who placed eighth in the Singapore Open and ended up tied for 14th in the Myanmar Open last month.
Six former champions and several top foreign players have confirmed participation, all chasing for a record title as Centennial champion of Asia's first National Open co-organized by National Golf Association of the Philippines and Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and sponsored by ICTSI, Meralco, PLDT, Smart, Bulgari, Diamond Motor Corp., BDO, Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Amon Trading, Dynamic Sports and Custom Clubmakers.
“I’m sure all the players would prepare better, too. Most have an idea of the course and what the winds will do. I have to prepare better," said Tabuena.
Last year’s champion Steve Lewton of England will lead the stellar cast although local fans are hoping for a Filipino victory in the event’s Centennial staging.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, winner of the Philippine Open at Wack Wack in 2012, is seeing action together with 2014 titlist Marcus Both of Australia.
Also in the field are Thailand’s Pasavee Lertvilai and Wisut Artjanawat, Americans Seungjae Maeng, John Michael O’Toole and Nicolas Paez, Indonesians Andrew Wireman and Ian Andrew, Australia’s David Gleeson, Andrew Campbell and Nathan Park, and Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang and Dengshan Koh.