MIGUEL Tabuena blew a five-stroke lead early but played steady down the stretch, hitting birdie on No. 16 to score a 69 and win the ICTSI Rancho Palos Verdes Classic by one shot on Saturday in Davao.
Tabuena was comfortable ahead early but a triple bogey on No. 13 allowed Elmer Salvador to join him on top of the leaderboard with birdie on the par-5 15th.
But the 21-year-old Tabuena came through with a solid approach shot on the 16th to set up a birdie from close range then watched his rival muff his birdie try from the fringe.
The 23-under 265 in the eighth leg of the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour was worth P270,000 for Tabuena, who moved up to the top of the money list.
Two victories and three runner-up finishes moves him past absentee Angelo Que in the Order of Merit with earnings P1.610 million.
Que, currently campaigning in Japan, has winnings of P1.572 on two victories at the Manila Masters and Anvaya Cove Invitational.
Salvador, who was eyeing back-to-back titles after topping the Riviera Classic last week, had a closing 67 for a 266 total and a P185,000 prize.
Clyde Mondilla shot a 68 and ended up way behind in third at 273 worth P105,000, while Tony Lascuna extended his winless campaign with a fourth place finish at 274 after a 69 for P85,000.
Orlan Sumcad birdied two of the last four holes to fire a 68 for joint fifth with erstwhile leader Michael Bibat closed with a 72 for 278 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Royal Northwoods winner Zanieboy Gialon wound up seventh at 279 after a closing 67, while Ferdie Aunzo ended up eighth at 280 after a 72.
Anthony Fernando and Artemio Murakami took the next two places with 281 and 282 after a 71 and 70, respectively.
Tabuena hit an errant approach shot into a hazard while battling the wind on the par-4 No. 13. He overshot the green on his fourth shot and flubbed a double-bogey putt from pin-length high for a 7.
“Just got lucky in the end,” said Tabuena, adding that he was bothered by the wind on No. 13 while trying to choose between a pitching wedge or a 9-iron for an approach shot. He picked the wedge but mishit it.