MIGUEL Tabuena completed a huge comeback from four shots down with a closing 71 for a four-stroke win on Saturday in the ICTSI Open Championship at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Tabuena was the only player to finish under par in tough conditions at the East course, registering a one-under 287, while overnight leader Tony Lascuna struggled to a 79 and wound up with a 291. That was still good for joint second with Angelo Que, who had a final round 73.
Birdie on No. 12 allowed Tabuena to pull even with Lascuña at even par and the young shotmaker moved two strokes clear when the latter bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15.
Tabuena then birdied the 17th to go three-up then finished on top by four as Lascuña bogeyed the final hole.
“I didn’t expect to win with Tony in the lead. But I stayed patient in the last six holes, focused on every birdie opportunity that came my way,” said Tabuena.
The 71 proved to be the best in the toughest day at the fabled layout and Tabuena’s third win of the season put him back on top of the Order of Merit in the tour sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
Tabuena earlier won the Splendido and Rancho Palos Verdes legs of the series backed by Custom Clubmakers, Titleist, Nike Golf, PacSports, Callaway, Srixon, KZG, Sharp and Foot Joy.
The P650,000 top prize pushed Tabuena’s total earnings to P2,601,917 heading to the last two legs of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Lascuna and Que each won P335,000, with the former dropping to second in the money list with P2,334,960 and the latter staying at third with P2,272,131 in winnings.
One hole did Lascuña in as he double-bogeyed the layout’s signature hole, the par-3 No. 8, after dumping his tee-shot into the right bunker, where he needed two blasts to get out, the last barely reaching the green.
“I lost my rhythm and poise after I double-bogeyed No. 8,” rued Lascuna, who bogeyed the next two and dropped three strokes in the last five holes.
Cassius Casas, tied with Tabuena after 54 holes, limped with a 76and wound up fourth at 292 for P195,000.
Charles Hong, winner of the Luisita Championship, rallied with a 72 and grabbed solo fifth at 294 worth P155,000.
Second-round leader Zanieboy Gialon had a closing 81 and finished in joint sixth with Orlan Sumcad, who matched par 72, at 295. Each got P125,000.
Dutchman Guido Van der Valk turned in a 75 to finish eighth at 297 worth P100,000, while Elmer Salvador placed ninth at 299 after a 76 for P88,000.
Rene Menor and Danilo de los Santos wound up tied at 10th at 301 after a 74 and 77, respectively. Each received P75,250.