Players Predict Bright Future for Tabuena

Mon 13 Feb 2012

Players Predict Bright Future for Tabuena

Kuala Lumpur, February 13: Filipino Miguel Tabuena may have missed out on an historic victory at the ICTSI Philippine Open but his peers, led by the country’s golf legend Frankie Minoza and Sunday’s winner Mardan Mamat, have predicted great things from the talented teenager.

The 17-year-old Tabuena was in contention of becoming the youngest ever Philippine Open champion as he entered the final round one shot back before Singaporean veteran Mardan ran out a comfortable wire-to-wire victory in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.

Minoza, who has won multiple titles across Asia including two Philippine Open titles, said: “He’s a small man with a big heart. He’s a hard worker and practices real hard. He’s got big potential. His short game is good and if he can gain some 30 yards in distance, he’s going to become a really good player.”

The 52-year-old Minoza had a first-hand view of his young compatriot at the season-ending Thailand Golf Championship last December, playing in the final round together which proved heartbreaking for Tabuena who missed out on a full Asian Tour card by a mere US$250 on the rankings.

“This boy has talent. He’s just a bit short on his distance now but he can still grow. He’s still young. I think he has a chance to win many titles. He doesn’t care about the prize money. He’s just going out there to play, with nothing to worry about.

“Miguel has got an all-round game, hits his driver and irons straight, and is a decent putter. Playing on Asian Tour will help him develop. Different courses, different cultures, different food,  it will help him. All he needs to do is to keep playing,” said Minoza.

Mardan offered some consolatory words to the deflated Tabuena. “Miguel is a nice boy. He’s got a lot of potential for Asian golf. For 17, there is a lot of time for him to build up his game. He’ll be one of the best players. He behaved very well and had a good attitude on the golf course. I’m looking forward to watching him in the future.”

Antonio Lascuna, who finished as the leading Filipino at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club, said Tabuena would learn from his bitter experience where he shot a closing 81 to eventually finish tied 11th.

“I also had this same experience many times before. When you contend again in the next tournament you will remember what you did wrong. You just learn from these experiences. He didn’t have a good last round but in the next tournament, he’ll learn from today.”

Rick Gibson of Canada, the coach of Tabuena, predicts a bright future for his protégé.

“He was put in a situation he is not used to,” added Gibson of Tabuena, whom he took under his wings a couple of years back. “He’ll know how to handle it in the future. It’s a test of fire and he’ll have to go through it.”

“He is still the future of Philippine golf,” Gibson said. “It’s not if, but when.”

With his victory, Mardan now leads on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with earnings of US$49, 860. Kieran Pratt of Australia, winner of the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Air Bagan, trails in second place on US$47,550 while countryman Adam Blyth is third with winnings of US$34,875.

The Asian Tour will visit India for the first time this week for the third staging of the Avantha Masters, which is tri-sanctioned with the European Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). S.S.P. Chowrasia of India will defend his title at DLF Golf and Country Club starting on Thursday.

Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos. Player Order of Merit (US$)

1 Mardan MAMAT   (SIN) $49,860.00

2 Kieran PRATT   (AUS) $47,550.00

3 Adam BLYTH   (AUS) $34,875.00

4 MO Joong-kyung   (KOR) $33,510.00

5 Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $25,425.00

6 Arnond VONGVANIJ   (THA) $20,225.00

7 Ben FOX   (USA) $20,088.00

8 Antonio LASCUNA   (PHI) $16,545.00

8 Azuma YANO   (JPN) $16,545.00

10 Scott HEND   (AUS) $13,545.00

11 Marcus BOTH   (AUS) $12,483.00

11 Anthony KANG   (USA) $12,483.00

13 Paul DONAHOO   (AUS) $10,170.00

14 Chapchai NIRAT   (THA) $9,648.00

15 KIM Gi-whan   (KOR) $9,425.00

16 Chawalit PLAPHOL   (THA) $8,025.00

17 Prayad MARKSAENG   (THA) $7,788.00

18 Wade ORMSBY   (AUS) $6,802.50

19 HWANG Inn-choon   (KOR) $6,680.00

20 Nils FLOREN   (SWE) $6,217.50

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Apparel Partner), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Smartphone and Tablet Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.