Miguel Tabuena once again showed admirable poise under pressure, recovering from an atrocious start with a back nine birdie binge for a one-under 70 that allowed him to keep a share of the lead after the second round of the Queen’s Cup on Friday in Samui, Thailand.
Tabuena, a two-time winner on the Philippine Golf Tour, caught fire on the homeward nine, picking up a shot on No. 11 and making birdie on three of the last four holes to remain joint leader at five-under 137, this time with home bet Thaworn Wiratchant, who shot a sizzling 67.
But it was compatriot Juvic Pagunsan who made the biggest move of the day, leaping from joint 68th to a share of fifth place after an eagle-aided 65, the day’s low score.
Co-leader with Boonchu Ruangkit in the opening round, Tabuena quickly fell down the standings with two bogeys in his first three holes on a wind-swept afternoon at the Santiburi Samui Country Club. The 17-year-old slipped with another bogey on the par-5 No. 6 for an atrocious 39.
“I just kept telling myself to hang on. Anything can happen in this course, it’s not easy to win. So you just gotta grind and see what happens in the end,” Tabuena told asiantour.com.
With the breeze dying down a bit, Tabuena turned things around with the birdie shooting spree on the closing holes—almost matching his three straight birdies on the same stretch in the first round.
“I know that the front nine is a more difficult nine and I just kept telling myself that the back nine should be easier and you should make up ground on the back nine. Just shoot under par on the back nine and you’ll be up there,’” said Tabuena.
Wiratchant, one-under after the first round, was poised to seize the lead when he had a flawless 34 on the front. A bogey on No. 10 briefly stalled his run before he came up with three consecutive birdies from No. 12 that moved him to five under.
Tabuena finished ahead and was leader at the clubhouse at five under when Wiratchant bogeyed No. 17 to slip back to minus four but the Thai birdied the 18th to join the Filipino teen sensation on top.
“Tomorrow’s (Saturday) moving day… gotta shoot a good score but you gotta downplay everything, can’t make everything exaggerated, just gotta get on the green, two-putt one-putt,” Tabuena said.
Siddikur Rahman was alone in third place at three-under after rounds of 70-68.
Pagunsan, who shot a 75 on Thursday, hit seven birdies and three bogeys plus the eagle on the par-5 No 18 to move to two-under 140.
Antonio Lascuna had a 73 (two-over 144), Angelo Que had a 68 (145), Jay Bayron had a 72 (146), Mars Pucay fired a 76 (146) and Elmer Salvador scored a second-straight 77.
Ruangkit had a messy 74 that featured four consecutive birdies and was at 141.