Miguel Tabuena finishes strong to take first round lead in Splendido Championship

·2 min read

Miguel Tabuena scored three birdies down the stretch to finish with a 66 and wrest the lead away from rival, Clyde Mondilla, at the start of the ICTSI Splendido Taal Championship in Laurel, Batangas on Monday.

Mondilla took command most of the way with a seven-under card after 14 holes before settling for a 67 after a couple of late mishaps as the field played preferred lies due to wet course following days of rain.

Tabuena, who bested Mondilla on the second playoff hole to capture the ICTSI Luisita crown back in March, also made a run of four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 7 but reeled back with a wet bogey on the 13th before closing out with a blistering run of birdies for a 34-32 that put him on a very familiar place.

“I didn’t really hit my best. I got to a very slow start and didn’t birdie the early holes. But I got it going on No. 8 and was able to make some grounds (after the bogey) by birdying the last three holes,” said the two-time Philippine Open champion Tabuena.

Mondilla, who marked his runner-up finishes at Luisita and Caliraya with final round rallies, had set his title drive in motion in the P2 million event with a fiery start but lost steam, at the finish, bogeying Nos. 15 and 18 for a 33-34.

“I had a solid frontside, hit all the fairways and even missed three birdie chances inside five feet. But I lost my feel and momentum in the last four holes” rued the 2019 Philippine Open champion at The Country Club, who overshot the par-4 15th and failed to return a long par-putt then came up short of the closing hole, another par-4, and missed a six-footer for par.

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