MIGUEL Tabuena birdied three of the last five holes for a 69 and a two-stroke lead halfway through the P2.5 million ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic on Thursday in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
The 18-year-old Tabuena moved to four-under 140, two strokes clear of Charles Hong, who had a second-round 72 for 142.
"I'm feeling good," said Tabuena, out to duplicate his opening leg victory at Splendido last year in the kick off leg of this year’s 17-stage circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. and sponsored by ICTSI.
Tabuena was even through 13 with two birdies and two birdies before catching fire in the closing holes. He birdied the tough par-4 14th then strung up two more on Nos. 16 and 17 to surge ahead of the field battling for the top prize of P450,000.
Toru Nakajima of Japan overcame a double-bogey on the 10th with three birdies in a row from No. 13, dropped a stroke on par-3 16th before holing out with another birdie for a 70 and a 143.
Mars Pucay shot a 70 and Ferdie Aunzo sputtered with a 73 to tie Nakajima at 143.
Mhark Fernando hit two birdies in the last six holes to card a 71 and 145 in a tie with Orlan Sumcad and Jun Bernis, who scored 74 and 71, respectively.
First round leader Jay Bayron turned from awesome to awful with an 82 after a 68, tumbling down the leaderboard at joint 22nd with a 150.
Edward Reyes shot an eagle-aided 66, so far the tournament best, to gain a share of sixth spot at 144 with Ruben Sasutil, who fired a 71.
Reyes had four birdies in the first six holes, including three straight from No. 4, before dropping a stroke on the ninth. He made par on the first four holes at the back, birdied No. 14 before hitting an eagle on the par-5 15th.
Others who made it to the weekend play of the first tournament of the new season backed by Sharp, Nike Golf, Callaway, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, Cleveland Golf, Foot Joy, Event Captain, Inc., Omnisource Inti’l. TPGAP were Artemio Murakami (76-148), Marvin Dumandan (78-149), Gerald Rosales (77-149), Dutch Guido Van der Valk (76-150), Cassius Casas (73-151) and Frankie Minoza (75-151).