Tabuena vying in PGA Tour tilt | Inquirer Sports

Tabuena vying in PGA Tour tilt

01:05 AM January 06, 2016

MIGUEL Tabuena was busy preparing for a scheduled trip this week to Portland, Oregon, when his mom Lorna told him there’s a little change in his itinerary.

He is going to Hawaii instead.

Miguel shook his head, saying he can’t miss the Portland trip because he’s up for a re-fitting session with equipment sponsor Nike.

But when his mother broke the news that he is to play in a PGA Tour event in Hawaii, the Sony Open, he ended up screaming and jumping for joy.

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The season will thus start early for the newly crowned Philippine Open champion after he was given a last-minute sponsor’s exemption for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu Jan. 14 to 17.

The event happens right after the Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions and offers a rich prize pot of $5.8 million.

“I’m super thrilled to learn that I was given a slot [by Sony]; I’m definitely looking forward to it,” the 21-year-old Tabuena told the Inquirer yesterday.

Sony Hawaii executive Dale Nagata confirmed Tabuena’s slot in an e-mail to Lorna and golf executive Pablo Soon yesterday.

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“Hopefully this news starts Miguel’s year with a bang! One of the players (2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang), who had one of Sony’s foreign exemptions, withdrew due to injury,” Nagata said.

Nagata was the same man responsible for Tabuena’s stint in the same Hawaii tournament during his rookie year as a professional in 2012.

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Tabuena, however, missed the cut by five strokes after rounds of 73-71.

He will be a more-seasoned player when he returns to the tournament, especially since he’s coming off a sensational season in which he won three events on the local tour and the 98th PH Open at Luisita—his first international title.

Tabuena said his fitting session might have to wait.

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“It’s a door opening for me and I’ll take the chance,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to improve my world ranking and who knows, I might even hit the jackpot there.”

TAGS: Golf

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