A BACK injury forced Miguel Tabuena to withdraw from the Solaire Philippine Open, leaving the country’s national championship without one of its top draws when it holds its 101st staging on April 3-6 at The Country Club in Laguna.
Tabuena hurt his back while playing in the pro-am of the Maybank Championship in Malaysia last week. He did play in the first round of the $3 million event but withdrew after shooting a 79.
After several sessions with European Tour physiotherapists in Kuala Lumpur, he still flew to India to compete in the Hero Indian Open this week, hoping it would heal after a week-long rest. But he decided to pull out so as not to aggravate the injury.
“It’s sad to have to withdraw from defending the Philippine Open crown. I hurt my back in KL right before the Maybank Championship. From there, I flew to India hoping I could play the Hero Indian Open but was advised against it by the tour’s physios,” said Tabuena, who, however, added that would still show up as a spectator.
“I hope to be back and healthy soon. Best of luck to all the players in the SPO at the TCC next week,” he said.
Tabuena nipped Thai veteran Prom Meesawat in sudden death at the TCC to clinch his second Phl Open crown in five years. He would’ve vied to become the first repeat winner of the fabled event in 60 years.
“While we regret his withdrawal from the Solaire Phl Open, we are also after his health and we fully support his decision to take a rest to give his injury sufficient time to heal ,” said Colo Ventosa, general manager of the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Despite his absence, the SPO cast remains formidable with Asia’s former No. 1 Juvic Pagunsan and fellow Japan PGA Tour campaigner Angelo Que headlining the local challenge against a slew of foreign aces in the $500,000 championship.
They include Thais Wisut Artjanawat, Sutijet Kooratanapisan, Poosit Supupramai and Pasavee Lertvilai, who are all going all out to nail their first Phl Open title; Philippine Golf Tour Asia leg winners Damien Jordan and David Gleeson, spearheads of the Aussies’ drive for their 10th Open jewel; and Americans Sam Gillis, Lexus Keoninh, Brett Munson, Cory Oride and PGT leg titlist Nicholas Paez, who are shooting for their 27th Open crown in the event sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Philippines headed by president Martin Lorenzo and backed by Pin High golf apparel.