MIGUEL Tabuena went on another hot start but this time ended up with a cold finish, settling for a two-under 70 but keeping a six-shot lead intact halfway through the P3.5 million ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational on Thursday in Morong, Bataan.
The 21-year old top earner on the Philippine Golf Tour, who set a new course record 62 in the opening round, hit five birdies on the first six holes. But he reeled back with a double-bogey on No. 17 on an errant drive then fumbled with two more bogeys against a birdie.
But with the rest failing to mount a serious challenge, the reigning Philippine Open champion remained safely ahead at 12-under 132.
Jay Bayron also bogeyed the tough par-5 ninth and had a 70 for a 138 total.
“I don’t think we can catch up. Miguel’s playing on a different level,” said Bayron.
Tabuena had a tap-in birdie on the 10th then buried birdie putts inside 12 feet in the next two holes. He drilled in another 10 footer on the 14th then went five-under with another birdie on No. 15.
But he remains wary of his rivals as they battle for the top prize of P650,000.
“It’s still not finished, there are still two more days,” said Tabuena, eyeing a 20-under overall finish. “But same strategy, risk and reward. If I can pull it off, why not?”
Toru Nakajima, the Japanese topnotcher of the qualifying tournament, shot a 69 to join Tony Lascuna, who also gained some ground with a three-under card, at 140, eight shots behind.
Park Min Ung, the young Korean who won the Philippine junior crown in 2012, rebounded from a 73 with a 69 to move to fifth at 142. Charles Hong, Clyde Mondilla and Dutch Guido Van Der Valk shot 72s to remain tied at 143.
Angelo Que, winner of the tournament last year, added a 75 to an opening 76 for a seven-over 151, barely making it to the final 36 holes of the kickoff leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc., backed by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and supported by Adidas, TaylorMade, Pacsports Phils., Custom Clubmakers, KZG, Sharp and Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club.