Tabuena in position to make cut, trails Barbasol leader by nine strokes
Playing at the worst time of the day, Miguel Tabuena gathered his wits when the strong late afternoon winds tested his game and managed to escape with a one-under-par 71 on Thursday and put himself in a good position to make the weekend rounds of the Barbasol Championship of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
There was just plenty of room for errors in the winds that buffeted the late finishers and for Tabuena, it was time to elevate the level of his game several notches higher.
His last hole birdie—on the ninth where he finished—was a long, sloping 30-footer that allowed him to break par and end his back nine struggles. His 71 at the Keene Trace Golf Club put the two-time Asian Tour champion in the big group tied for 91st place, all 24 of them two shots off the projected cut of three under in Friday’s second round.
Canada’s Adam Svensson eagled twice in shooting a 10-under par 62 to grab a two-stroke lead. World number 158 Svensson, chasing his first PGA victory, also had seven birdies and a lone bogey at Keene Trace to match the lowest score for the first 18 holes in tournament history.
Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia, who missed the cut at Bay Hill in 2016 in his only prior US PGA start, was second on 64. Sharing third after opening 65s were Germany’s Matt Schmid, Colombian Camilo Villegas, England’s David Skinns and Americans Trey Mullinax, Michael Kim and Max McGreevy.
Tabuena, returning to the PGA Tour after five years on a sponsor’s exemption, went three under with three birdies on the first seven holes of the back nine where he started.