Tabuena wrests 54-hole lead by 1
TAIPEI—Young Filipino star Miguel Tabuena scorched the back nine with six birdies and grabbed the third round lead with a 7-under-par 65 at the $500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) here Saturday.
The 19-year-old Tabuena tied for the low round courtesy of two closing birdies to hold a one-shot lead with a 10-under-par 206 total over Asian Tour standouts Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Anirban Lahiri, who shot 68s at Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Home hero Yeh Wei-tze, a one-time Asian Tour winner, opened with five straight birdies before posting the second 65 to share fourth place with Prom Meesawat of Thailand (68) and two-time PGA Tour winner Daniel Chopra (69) of Sweden on a 208 total.
Overnight co-leaders Antonio Lascuña of the Philippines and Australia’s Cameron Smith slipped following a disappointing 72 and 73 respectively, but remained in contention. Lascuña was in seventh place at 209 while Smith joined a three-way tie for eighth at 210.
Jay Bayron became the third highest Filipino after three rounds at 214 after a 69 as the celebrated Angelo Que and first-round leader Elmer Salvador continued their slide and wound up tied at 215. Que, who fired a hole-in-one in the first round en route to a 68, shot a a 76 while Salvador, carded a 75.
Tabuena turned in a 35 on the front nine before shooting three straight birdies from the 10th hole. He added three more birdies to complete a remarkable back nine performance and put himself in prime position to win a first Asian Tour title.
With one top-10 result at the Solaire Open in the Philippines this year, Tabuena has enjoyed an upswing in his golf game after working with a new coach, Joel Altea.
“I hit good quality shots on the front nine but didn’t make anything. I went into the back nine and told myself to do what I’ve been doing and the putts started to fall,” said Tabuena.