MIGUEL Tabuena eyes a second straight title and fourth in the season as the Philippine Golf Tour goes to Tarlac for the inaugural Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open at the Luisita Golf and Country Club.
The tournament opens on Wednesday, with Tabuena looking to add to his wins at Splendido, Rancho Palos Verdes and Wack Wack.
Tabuena rallied from four strokes down to win by four in the ICTSI Open at Wack Wack on Saturday, bagging his third title of the season and regaining the top spot on the money list with two tournaments remaining in the 15-stage ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
It is the second PGT event this season at Luisita, after the ICTSI Luisita Championship in May won by Charles Hong.
The young Cebuano shotmaker will again be among the favorites, along with erstwhile money list leader Tony Lascuna, in the 72-hole championship offering total prize fund of P2.5 million from the sponsoring Central Azucarera de Tarlac, with P450,000 going to the winner.
The new owners of the course, led by Martin Lorenzo, made improvements to make it more challenging.
Tony Lascuna, joint second in the Luisita Open, is also seeing action, along with Jay Bayron, Rufino Bayron, Cassius Casas, Zanieboy Gialon, Mars Pucay, Elmer Salvador, Marvin Dumandan, Orlan Sumcad, Ferdie Aunzo, Joenard Rates, Gerald Rosales, Clyde Mondilla, Arnold Villacencio and the comebacking Frankie Miñoza, who ruled the 1989 President’s Cup at Luisita.
Micah Shin of the US has also signed up for the event, leading the foreign challengers including Koreans Hong Soon Hyup, Lee Hyun Woo, Anthony Kim, Lyu Hyung Suk and Park Jun Song.
Tabuena has earned P2,601,917 this season and will try to stay ahead of Lascuna, who dropped to second with earnings of P2,334,960.
Third-running Angelo Que, who finished joined second with Lascuña at Wack Wack, has begged off to honor a previous commitment to compete in the Japan PGA Tour also slated this week.
Luisita will also host this year’s Philippine Open from Dec.17 to 20.