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Miguel Tabuena ties for 29th; Juvic Pagunsan boosts OOM lead


JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia—Rookie Miguel Tabuena emerged as the top Filipino finisher, while Juvic Pagunsan increased his Asian Tour Order of Merit (OOM) lead after the weather-shortened Iskandar Johor Open won by rising star Joost Luiten of the Netherlands Sunday.

Tabuena, the 17-year-old former amateur star who turned pro last February, shot a closing 2-under-par 69 to finish in a nine-way tie for 29th place with a 6-under total of 207, a stroke ahead of Pagunsan, who managed just a 70 to wind up in a big logjam for 38th position.

With earlier rounds of 71-67, Tabuena, a career-best fourth in Taiwan two weeks ago, picked up $16,133 to boost his income in his last two tournaments to $46,133. He moved up to No. 61 in the OOM with total earnings of $59,447, just a rung off the top 60 list who will keep their Asian Tour cards next season.

Pagunsan, who matched Tabuena’s scores in the first two rounds, earned $12,000 to boost his total take in the OOM to $733,298.

The runner-up in the $6-million Barclays Singapore Open last week now leads second-placer SSP Chowrasia of India by close to $300,000, going to the last two events in the Asian Tour—the $2.75-million UBS Hong Kong Open set Dec. 1 to 4, and the $1-million Thailand Golf Championship on Dec. 15 to 18.

Mars Pucay carded a third straight 70 to finish at 3-under 210 worth $6,500, while Elmer Salvador settled for $3,483 after closing with a 73 for 213.

Luiten shot a 65 to nip Daniel Chopra of Sweden by one shot in the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour that was reduced to 54 holes due to adverse weather in the last three days.

“Well, it is always tough to get your first Tour win and you’ll always believe that you’ll get a good one,” said the 25-year-old, who won $333,330 with a winning total of 15-under-par 198.

“I’m really relieved to finally win, and looking for the next one.”

Chopra narrowly missed his 20-foot eagle putt on the last hole to force a play-off and settled for second with a final round 70 at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

Former Asian Tour member Rhys Davies of Wales, title-holder Padraig Harrington of Ireland, and James Morrison of England finished in tied third, two shots from the champion.

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, a three-time Asian Tour number one; Charlie Wi of Korea; Shiv Kapur of India; and Bangladeshi Siddikur ended their campaigns as the top Asians in tied 15th place.


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