In-form Miguel Tabuena enters Rio Olympic golf with a championship mindset
Philippine Open champion Miguel Tabuena is very confident about his game. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO — The Olympics will award the first medals in golf in 112 years, and Miguel Tabuena is confident he would be on the podium after four days of competition at the Olympic Course in the Reserva de Marapendi.

The event tees off on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) and already Tabuena is in a championship mindset.

“I always come in an event expecting to win. I also play to win and never play to lose so ’yung expectation ko talaga is medal. Let’s see what happens,” said Tabuena.

The 21-year-old Tabuena placed 10th in the King’s Cup in Thailand last week before going to Rio, and says he needs just a little more rest to get back in top shape.

“I’ve been playing well in the past few weeks. Hopefully, I just have to get over the jetlag. Maybe one more day,” said Tabuena.

Fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Tabuena drew a mid-morning start with Yuta Ikeda of Japan and Roope Kakko of Finland.

“Nag-top 10 ako sa Thailand so, like I said, my game is in a good place now,” he said.

The Olympic tournament is without the sport’s Big Four of Fil-Australian Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, who withdrew for various reasons.

Still, the 60-man Olympic field has some of the best in the world including The Open champion and world No. 5 Henrik Stenson and two-time major winner Bubba Watson, sixth in the world rankings.

Also among the top golfers seeing action are England’s major winners Danny Willett and Justin Rose, and two-time major champion Martin Kaymer of Germany.

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