TEEN star Miguel Tabuena played cool under the scorching heat, firing a final-round 66 for an eight-shot victory on Saturday in the P2.5 million Sherwood Hills Classic in Trece Martirez, Cavite.
The 18-year-old Tabuena, the lone player to submit under-par scores in four rounds, had a 12-under 276 total to claim the top P450,000 prize in the kickoff leg of this year’s 17-stage ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.
"I have to say I'm satisfied and happy with the way I played the whole tournament," said Tabuena, who duplicated his feat last year when he won the Tour’s kickoff leg at Splendido.
While his inward 32 finished off a badly outclassed field, Tabuena actually settled the issue right at the front with a flawless 34, pulling away from erstwhile pursuer Toru Nakajima, who started the round just one stroke adrift but made the turn seven shots behind with an atrocious 40.
The Japanese shotmaker recovered with a 35 for a 75 but ended up joint third at 286 as Edward Reyes snatched runner-up honors with a 69 and a 284 total.
Charles Hong matched par 72 to tie Nakajima at third while Mars Pucay wound up fifth with a 287 after a 70 in the event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. and sponsored by ICTSI.
Tomo Yoshinaga and Ferdie Aunzo shared sixth place at 288 after a 68 and 72, respectively, while Jay Bayron (65), Dutch Guido Van der Valk (70), and Mhark Fernando (71) finished joint eighth at 289.
Reyes, a 21-year-old Filipino-British player who finished seventh in qualifying school, had an opening 78 but fought back with a 66 and a 71 before closing out with a three-under card. He took home P320,000.
Nakajima bogeyed the opening hole then No. 5 before dropping two strokes on No. 7 for a 40 on the first nine.
The third placer in the Q-School birdied Nos. 12 and 13 but bogeyed the 16th for a 75. Nakajima and Hong won P180,000 each in the event backed by Nike Golf, Mizuno, Srixon, Callaway, Custom Clubmakers, Sharp Cleveland Golf, Pacsports, Foot Joy, Titleist and Empire Golf and Sports Shop with Balls TV, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.
The win also gives Tabuena a huge confidence boost as he gears up for the Solaire Open, an Asian Tour stage and the second leg of the PGT, set two weeks from now at Wack Wack.