Quiban gains share of Resorts World lead
After missing the cut last year, Justin Quiban vowed a better performance in the 2017 Resorts World Manila Masters.
True enough, Quiban not only advanced to the money rounds with a six-under-par 66, he also shared top spot with Thais Arnond Vongvanij and Prachara Knongwatmai halfway through the $1-million tournament being held at Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite.
Quiban would even have been solo leader were it not for a bogey-bogey windup on holes 8 and 9, both of which he birdied in his opening 66.
Starting at the backside, the 21-year-old sophomore pro made his first birdie on No. 13 and then rattled off five straight birdies from No. 15, en route to a 12-under 132 total that he shares with Vongvani, who carded a 65-67, and Knongwatmai, who tallied 67-65.
“I putted really well. I have been putting good since yesterday,” said Quiban.
“This is my home course so I am pretty familiar with the layout. I think it’s an advantage for me. I will stick to the same game plan for the next two rounds.”
Quiban, a former national team stalwart who powered Southwoods to the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub title, first gained a tie for the lead when he birdied the 18th, chipping to within two feet and making the putt.
“I felt really confident after that. I am happy to be in a share of lead in such a big event. I am excited about the next two rounds. We will see how it goes,” said Quiban
The trio were two shots ahead of a six-man group led by Indian defending champion SSP Chawrasia (66-68) and 2015 Thai champion Natiphong Srithong (67-67).
Also at 134 were Indian Jyoti Randhawa, who followed up a 70 with a day-best 64, American Jarin Todd (68-66), Indian Arjun Atwal (67-67) and Thai Prom Meesawat (65-69).
Miguel Tabuena, the best Filipino finisher in 2016 with Jay Bayron at joint 13th, was lodged at 137 with a 68 and 69, respectively.
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