• Filipino golfer Tabuena begins Rio campaign

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    Miguel Tabuena  Contributed photo

    Miguel Tabuena
    Contributed photo

    Reigning Philippine Open champion Miguel Tabuena wound up 42nd with two-over 73 after the first round of the 2016 Olympic Games golf competition on Thursday (Friday in Manila) at the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Tabuena is 10 strokes behind leader Marcus Fraser of Australia, who had an opening round of an eight-under 63.

    But the Filipino bet remains optimistic with three more rounds left.

    “I won’t give up for you guys,” Tabuena said in a report.

    Tabuena will be teeing off at 7:52 a.m. on Friday (Saturday in Manila) with Roope Kakko of Finland (72) and Yuta Ikeda of Japan (74).

    “The conditions were really tough today. It was very windy. Then I just couldn’t close many putts as I wanted to. I thought I played well. But f you start to miss your tee shorts here which is very crucial, it can cost you, and that cost me two worthy holes,” said Tabuena, who was accompanied by his father, Luigi, and Filipino swing coach, Joel Altea.

    “This is certainly one of the biggest tournaments I played in besides the US Open. But this means a bit more. I don’t wear a sponsor’s logo on my shirt. I’m wearing the Philippine flag and that means so much more to me,” added Tabuena.

    The 21-year-old Tabuena said he’d make some adjustments in the second round.

    “That’s a long way to go. This is stroke play golf. You have three more days and I’ll just continue to grind tomorrow. Too many to count [on greens]. That’s probably one thing I have to adjust tomorrow, and if I get my putter to work,” said Tabuena.

    Rounding up the Top 10 are Graham DeLaet of Canada (66), Henrik Stenson of Sweden (66), Thomas Pieters of Belgium (67), Gregory Bourdy of France (67), Alex Cejka of Germany (67), Justin Rose of Great Britain (67), Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain (67), An Byeong Hun of South Korea (68) and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium (68).

    The rest of the remaining Filipino athletes were out training for their respective events.

    Mary Joy Tabal will compete in women’s marathon on August 14, followed by long jumper Marestella Torres Sunang and 400m hurdles entry Eric Cray on August 16, then tae kwon do jin Kirstie Elaine Alora on August 20.

    Two athletes – judoka Kodo Nakano and table tennis’ Ian Lariba – will be leaving Rio de Janeiro on Friday (Saturday in Manila), to be followed next by swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie King Lacuna on August 15 while boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez will return home on August 17.

    EMIL C. NOGUERA

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