MIGUEL Tabuena shot a career-best, course record-breaking 10-under 62 for a huge six-stroke lead at the Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club on Wednesday in Morong, Bataan.
The 21-year-old Tabuena quickly underscored his readiness to claim the crown in the P3.5 million kick-off leg of this year’s ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour by birdying the first four holes from close range while majority of the starting 98-player field struggled to even set up birdie chances.
Jay Bayron was second after a 68.
The Philippine Open champion muffed an eagle putt from 12 feet on the par-5 10th, reached the drivable par-4 11th in one and missed another eagle bid from just about a club length but finally hit one on the last par-5, No. 15, off a 3-wood second shot from 260 yards that rested 15 feet off the cup. He then birdied the par-3 16th and completed a pair of 31s on a sunny but windy day at the seaside layout.
“It was really a fantastic game, the best round in my career. Everything’s in place,” said Tabuena.
“I never played this game before and hopefully, I sustain this form the rest of the tournament.”
Tabuena did fumble with a bogey on the par-5 ninth but the miscue hardly diminished the impact of his brilliant round that wiped out the 64 posted by Angelo Que in the final round to win last year.
Bayron was at 33 after nine holes and tried to give chase with a birdie on No. 15.
But Tabuena answered with an eagle and restored a four-stroke lead then birdied the next, while Bayron had a final-hole bogey.
American qualifier John Jackson carded a 70 to take solo third as the other fancied local bets struggled, including Tony Lascuna who had a 71 for joint fourth with John Kier Abdon, Charles Hong, Clyde Mondilla, Mars Pucay, Dutch Guiod Van der Valk and Toru Nakajima of Japan.
Que opened with a birdie on No. 10 but never recovered from two double bogeys on Nos. 15 and 17, limping with a four-over 76 for joint 34th.
“My game is okay but I got a little bit sleepy since I woke up at 3 a.m. to catch my flight assignment,” said Que, who tied for 38th with Tabuena and Lascuna in last week’s Myanmar Open.
Chris Oetinger of the US birdied two of the last three holes to save an even par 72 and tie Korean Seok Jun Min, James Ryan Lam, American Dylan Jackson and former Philippine Open champion Gerald Rosales.
Frankie Minoza hit four birdies but stumbled with three bogeys and a double bogey for a 73 for joint 16th with Randy Garalde, Ramil Bisera, Al Cruz and young Korean Park Min Ung in the tournament sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., and backed by Adidas, TaylorMade, Pacsports Phils., Custom Clubmakers, KZG, Sharp and Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club.