TRECE MARTIREZ, Cavite—Miguel Tabuena birdied three of his last five holes yesterday to shoot a three-under-par 69 and take a two-stroke lead over Charles Hong going into the final 36 holes of the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic here.
The 18-year-old posted a 140 aggregate and moved in position to annex the third title of his young career as first round-leader Jay Bayron collapsed with an 82 to fall 10 shots off the pace in the race for the P450,000 top prize.
Hong matched par 72 for 142, a stroke ahead of the veteran Mars Pucay, tour rookie Toru Nakajima of Japan and Ferdie Aunzo.
Pucay and Nakajima fired identical 70s while Aunzo, the former Philippine team spearhead, followed up an opening 70 with a 73.
The unheralded Edward Reyes fired a tournament-best 66 over the well-manicured, hazard-laden layout and vaulted into contention at 144 in a tie with journeyman Ruben Sasutil, who submitted a 71.
“It’s not perfect, but I am improving,” said Tabuena, who won last year’s kickoff leg at Splendido in Tagaytay for his breakthrough title as a pro, after his round that featured five birdies against two bogeys. “I’m feeling very good.”
Tabuena opened up with a 71 and hopes to bounce back from a dismal final two days in the rich The Country Club Invitational won by Frankie Miñoza last month.
Jun Bernis and Mark Fernando, former PH Am champions, posted 71s and were tied at 145 together with the long-hitting Orlan Sumcad, who returned a 74.
The cut was pegged at a high 154, 10-over-par, and among the noted casualties was the reedy Benjie Magada, who shot a 77 for 155, and Jonel Ababa, the former players’ Player of the Year, who fired an 84 for 159.
Chris Delos Santos, who started the day trailing Bayron by just two, also collapsed with a 78 that put him eight strokes off at 148. Q-School top medallist Guido Van Der Valk of the Netherlands struggled to a 76 and tied with Jay Bayron and three others at 150.
Miñoza, the reigning Japan Senior Open champion, improved slightly to a 75 and was at 151, still with a mathematical chance but needing a truly low round today to get back in the mix. In his group were the likes of Cassius Casas (73), Rufino Bayron (78) and Jessie Balasabas (73).
The P2.5-million event is being organized by the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. and by Sharp, Nike Golf, Callaway, Titleist, Custom Clubmakers, Mizuno, Cleveland Golf, Foot Joy, Event Captain Inc., Omnisource Int’l. TPGAP.