Terrific Tabuena Ties Thaworn

Fri 15 Jun 2012

Terrific Tabuena Ties Thaworn

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Samui, Thailand, June 15: Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena produced a gutsy comeback with a battling one-under-par 70 to share the halfway lead with in-form Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant in the Queen’s Cup on Friday.



The 17-year-old Tabuena was three-over through six holes on a wind-swept day at the Santiburi Samui Country Club before brilliantly fighting back with four birdies on his inward nine for a two-day total of five-under-par 137 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.



Thaworn, former number one with 12 career wins, produced an impressive 67 to give himself a chance of tying countryman Thongchai Jaidee’s record 13 Asian Tour victories.


 


Bangladeshi Siddikur, whose career first top-10 was achieved two years ago in Samui, shot a solid 68 to lie one back while India’s Anirban Lahiri, bound for the British Open next month, was a further stroke back following a 68 as well.



Reigning Asian Tour number one Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines fired the day’s best of 65, thanks to an eagle at the last, to jump into contention on 140 with Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Panuphol PIttayarat. Thailand’s 56-year-old Boonchu Ruangkit, who shared the overnight lead on Thursday, shot a 74 for 141.



Tabuena, the co-overnight leader, was delighted with the way he fought back from his tough start. “I just kept telling myself to hang on as anything can happen. It’s not easy to win and you’ve just got to grind. It was really hard … the wind was very strong but after six holes it started to calm down and that’s when I started to play better,” said the slightly built Filipino.



He spectacularly chipped in for birdie on 11 before producing a grandstand finish. A 20-foot conversion on 15 was followed by a six-foot birdie at the next hole. He then stuck a chip to two-feet at the last to give himself a chance at winning a maiden Asian Tour victory.



“I didn’t notice those three birdies at the end as when you’re in the zone, you’re just having fun,” said the smiling Tabuena, who is in his second year as a professional. “I think I’m on top of my game now. The first few events on Tour, I was very emotional but you learn as you play more and bigger events. I know now what it takes to win,” he added.


Thaworn, who has one of the most unorthodox golf swings in the game, has been on form on the domestic circuit with two wins and a runner-up finish. He also won a regional tournament in Laos during the four-week run. “I just enjoy myself when I go out to play. I’m just relaxed and I like to play,” said the 45-year-old, who posted six birdies against two bogeys.



“I hit a lot of good tee shots. The winds were blowing but I made a lot of fairways, only missed one on 17. I have the confidence to win. I’m not too concerned about the record wins as anyone can break it. I haven’t chased it. I’m just trying my best but I would like to win the Queen’s Cup.”



With his straight hitting game, Siddikur stayed in the hunt for a second Asian Tour victory, thanks to four birdies against a lone bogey. “It was good, especially my putting,” said the Bangladeshi.



The strong winds sent scores soaring but India’s Lahiri felt right at home in Samui with an impressive display. “When I was practising in Bangalore last week, it was surprisingly windy, much windier than here. I’ve been working a lot on controlling my ball flight which is the key on this course,” said Lahiri, a two-time Asian Tour winner.


 


I’m quite happy. It was a tough day, at least starting out, it was very tough. The winds were howling and swirling. I’m happy with how I pulled things in and put my head down. I played really well. I’m not disappointed with anything. A couple of putts lipped out but that’s a good thing if I can lip out putts and still shoot under par, I’m a happy man.”



Bangkok-based Baek was leading comfortably on five-under in the morning until disaster struck on the par four fourth hole. After pulling his drive into the rocks where he took a penalty drop, he shanked his third shot into the water before staggering away with a ‘snowman’ – a golfing term for an eight.



“There were stones in the ground and I just shanked my shot,” lamented Baek.  “It was really hard. Every shot, you have to concentrate. Every time, the wind changed. One second it’s left to right and five seconds later, it’s right to left. I played good all the way, only missed one shot on number four.”



The Queen’s Cup, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Thailand PGA, is sponsored by Bangkok Airways, Sport Authority of Thailand, Santiburi Samui Country Club and co-sponsored by Samui Municipal and Tourism Association of Koh Samui, Bangkok Hospital Group, PTT, Kiatnakin Fund Management, Bangkok Bank, Bangkok Insurance, Sabre, Hertz Media partners are The Nation, True Visions, Bangkok Shuho and Elite magazine.



The official hotels for this year’s tournament include Santiburi Resort, Four Seasons Resort, Samui Palm Beach Resort, Intercontinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam, Amarin Samui, Samui Buri Resort, Buddy Samui, Sala Samui, Fair House Group, The Sea Samui and Bandara.




About Bangkok Airways Co., Ltd.


Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com), with the ASIA’S BOUTIQUE AIRLINE slogan, is the first private airline established in Thailand since 1968. Taking off daily with about a hundred flights per day from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok Airways flies travelers from around the world to more than twenty exquisite destinations across Thailand and Asia. To name a few; Samui, Phuket, Trat (Koh Chang), Maldives are amongst the hottest beach selections; whilst Sukhothai, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap (Angkor) are of the world heritage personalities, each of which possesses her unique flair.


 


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), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.



For further information, please contact Asian Tour’s Chuah Choo Chiang at tel: +6-12 2172 123 or visit www.asiantour.com