PLAYING arguably the best season in his young professional career, all eyes will be on Miguel Tabuena as he vies for honors against some of the best players in and around the continent as the Asian Tour’s Resorts World Manila Masters returns to Manila Southwoods.
The Rio Olympian is eager to make up for his miscues in last season’s RW Masters and as always is entering tournament play with a championship mindset.
The event tees off on Thursday.
“I’m pleased with where my game is right now,” said Tabuena, joint 18th last year with Angelo Que.
It was the best the home bets could pull off, and the Philippine Open champion sure wasn’t pleased.
After all, “best-placed Filipino” doesn’t mean anything to the young pro.
“That’s nothing,” he said, noting that the best place to be is at the top of the leaderboard after the final round.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I hope that in the final round we’ll be there in contention,” said the young pro.
Singapore’s Mardat Mamat is also raring to bounce back after a dismal outing last season when, as titleholder, he did not make it to the weekend play.
“They keep the rough higher so it’s quite difficult if you miss the greens,” said Mamat.
Pavit Tangkamolprasert is also among those who finished way off the winner last year but enters this tournament as a player to watch.
The Thai player clinched his first Asian Tour title with victory in the Venetian Macao Open last month, and is looking to make it two championships in as many months.
Natipong Srithong returns and will go for back-to-back titles, while also seeing action are last year’s runner-up Jbe Kruger of South Africa.
Tabuena starts at midday with Prom Meesawat of Thailand and Dadanjeet Bhullar of India.
Tony Lascuna, money leader on the domestic tour, starts also at midday with Richard Lee of Canada and India’s Shiv Kapur.
Former Asian Tour top money earner Juvic Pagunsan has been drawn to play titleholder Strithong and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh in a morning start.