MIGUEL Tabuena needs to finish in the top three to secure the money title, but the young pro shotmaker will shoot for no less than his fourth title of the season when the Philippine Golf Tour returns to Luisita Golf and Country Club for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open.
Tabuena moved to the top of the Order of Merit with victory in ICTSI Open Championship at Wack Wack last week and hopes to come up with a fine start in tournament begins on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Tabuena had to fight back in the weekend play at Wack Wack after opening with a 74 and will try to avoid that.
“I think I have an 80 percent chance to win here,” said Tabuena during a break in Tuesday’s pro-am, which he ruled with partners Martin Lorenzo, Eric Tensuan and Aian Arcilla with a 16-under 56 aggregate. “But I need my putting to click to win again.”
Charles Hong won the Luisita Open in May, while Tabuena finished tied for 11th.
“I’m confident of my chances to score a repeat here based on how I played last May,” said Hong. “I’m in top shape and has been aiming for top results in the last three tournaments.”
Focus will also be on erstwhile money leader Tony Lascuna, who is looking to bounce back from a career-worst final round 79 at Wack Wack.
“I’ve been playing great golf lately except for that final round foldup at Wack Wack but I’m upbeat of my chances here but I need to polish my putting stroke to contend again,” said Lascuna.
Also tipped to contend for the top P450,000 purse in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is pro-am runner-up Paul Echavez, who with teammates Jim Melo, Jobim Carlos and Alex Ong, pooled a 57.
Ferdie Aunzo Jay Bayron, Elmer Salvador, Clyde Mondilla, Mars Pucay, Anthony Fernando, Jun Bernis, Tonlits Asistio and Frankie Miñoza are also seeing action in the tournament backed by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Callaway, Srixon, Mizuno, TaylorMade, Nike Golf, Sharp, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Rudy Project, Pacsports, Omnisource, Cleveland Golf, KZG, FootJoy, Silicon, Empire and Great Depot.