MIGUEL Tabuena rallied from five strokes down and took a one-shot lead by firing an eight-under 64 highlighted by three chip-in birdies in the third round of the Philippine Golf Tour’s Manila Masters on Thursday at soggy Eastridge Golf Club in Binangonan, Rizal.
The 19-year-old Tabuena, who had earlier rounds of 66-74, hit three chip-in birdies in the first eight holes before hitting five birdies in the last six.
The score will not count as a new course record since the third round was played under preferred lies. The course mark was set at 65 by Cassius Casas in the first round.
But the sizzling round put Tabuena, winner at Sherwood last year, at in position to bag his first title of the season.
“The chip-in at No. 8 (from 10 feet) started the momentum, It was a super hard green,” said Tabuena, who also chipped in for birdies on Nos. 1 and 6 from 15 feet.
“Actually, I got into the right spots the whole day,” added Tabuena, who hit three straight birdies from No. 13 inside six feet before closing out with a 10-footer and a tap-in. “My plan was to get into good position for Friday’s (today) finale.”
With a 12-under 204 aggregate, Tabuena is indeed looking good at the top of the elite field.
Elmer Salvador is right behind at 205 after a 69, while two-day leader Cassius Casas fired a 72 for a 207 total.
“This is a good fight but will play it hole-by-hole and shot-for-shot,” said Salvador, who recovered from a three-bogey mishap in a five-hole stretch from No. 8 with four birdies in the last five holes.
“After I three-putted No. 12, I told myself that I needed to fight back. It’s a good thing that I was able to hit it close from Nos. 14-16,” said Salvador.
Benjie Magada was six strokes behind at 210 after a 69, while two-leg winner Tony Lascuna had a 74 for a 212 total in the eighth leg of the Philippine Golf Tour organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and backed by Nike Golf, Pacsports, Srixon, FootJoy, It’s More Fun in the Philippines, Callaway, Mizuno, Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Sharp and KZG, with Balls Channel, Inquirer Golf and ABS-CBN Sports+Action as media partners.