His confidence boosted by a second victory on the domestic circuit, teenage sensation Miguel Tabuena resumes his quest on the Asian Tour when he sees action in the Queen’s Cup starting on Thursday at Santiburi Samui Country Club in Samui, Thailand.
The 17-year-old Tabuena has missed the cut in four of six Asian Tour events this year but is coming off a victory in the Eastridge Classic, his second in five tournaments this year on the Philippine Golf Tour.
Veteran Juvic Pagunsan, who recently placed fourth in an event on the Japanese Tour where he is now a card-bearing member, is also vying for honors.
The 34-year-old Pagunsan topped the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last year by virtue of a second-place finish in the rich Singapore Open and will be going for his first Tour win since the Indonesia Invitational in 2007.
“I’m really excited to be playing. I’m hitting it good. Recently, I played well in Japan, finished fourth in the last couple of weeks. Samui is one of the best places in Asia. Everybody wants to come here,” Pagunsan told asiantour.com.
“It’s big pressure to be at the top, even for me. You need to concentrate and play well to prove to people how you got in there is not by chance,” said Pagunsan.
“I’m still trying to be a better player. This course is tough. You need to hit it straight, which is a big challenge. If you miss your drive or miss your second shot, it’ll be tough to come back.”
Also playing in the $300,000 event, which will feature at least 34 Asian Tour winners, are three-time winner Angelo Que, Jay Bayron, Mars Pucay, Tony Lascuna and Elmer Salvador.
Philippine Open champion Mardan Mamat of Singapore is also joining the hunt along with Myanmar Open winner Kieran Pratt of Australia.
Leading the local charge is Prom Meesawat, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 4 on the Order of Merit, and fifth-running Thaworn Wiratchant. No. 6 Australia’s Scott Hend and seventh-ranked Anirban Lahiri of India will also see action.
Veteran Prayad Marksaeng, winner of six Asian Tour events, is also among the local players to watch, although the 46-year-old parbuster will be playing through pain due to an elbow injury.
The big-hitting Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 22, is eager to add to his lone Asian Tour victory achieved in India last year by winning in front of his home fans.