• Tabuena bows out of Rio Olympics, finishes 53rd

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    Miguel Tabuena CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Miguel Tabuena CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    RIO DE JANEIRO: Miguel Tabuena finally broke par at the Olympic Golf Course Sunday (Monday in Manila) but still did not get the result that he had hoped for in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    Tabuena hit five birdies against for bogeys for a one-under-par 70 and a four-day total of 291 after previous rounds of 73, 75 and 73 under various circumstances.

    Sunday’s round was his best here in Rio.

    The reigning Philippine Open champion finished the 72-hole tournament, won by Great Britain’s Justin Rose, in 53rd place among 60 qualifiers from around the world.

    Tabuena, who’s only 21, said his first stint in the Olympics is “part of the learning curb.” He vowed to do better if given another chance in the future.

    “It’s a dream come true to represent the country here. I will be more ready next time, hopefully in the (2020) Tokyo Olympics,” he said.

    Tabuena birdied Nos. 3, 5, 8, 16 and 18, all “inside five to ten feet,” but bogeyed Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 10, mostly on “missed greens.”

    “I was targeting every pin because I just wanted to shoot as low as I could today. There was no holding back,” said Tabuena, who played three rounds with a hurting shoulder.

    Rose, the 2013 US Open champion, won the gold medal with a 268 total on rounds of 67, 69, 65 and 67, which was 16-under for the tournament.

    Reigning French Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden won the silver with his 270 (66-68-68-68) while Matt Kuchar of the United States will go home with the bronze.

    Kuchar had the day’s best round of 63 built of six birdies, an eagle and no bogey. In all, 38 players broke par on the final round, including Tabuena.

    “The game plan was to attack the pin. I promised the guys back home that I will not give up. I didn’t and I shot my best round today,” he said.

    Tabuena said there’s more to learn in golf.

    “I’m still in the process of learning whether I’m trying too hard or I’m not trying too hard,” said Tabuena, who is all set to compete in the European Tour later this month.

    Tabuena had little time to rest after four days out on the course because he took a flight out of Rio de Janeiro to Manila past midnight Sunday.

    He left with his swing coach, Joel Altea, caddy Casey Besset; and swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna and coach Archie Lim.

    Slowly, the Athletes Village here had seen athletes, by themselves or by busloads, leave for home. Jasmine Alkhaldi, the Filipina swimmer, flies back to Hawaii with her coach Jennifer Buffin Monday; while boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez with coach Boy Velasco flies home Aug. 15.

    Still in Rio representing the country are track and field’s Eric Cray in the men’s 400m hurdles and Marestella Torres Sunang in women’s long jump; and taekwondo bet Kirstie Elaine Alora.

    Cray will be in Heat 4 of the men’s 400 hurdles at around 12 noon Monday (11 p.m. Monday in Manila). He hopes to get to the semis, to be made up of 3 heats, leading to the finals scheduled on Thursday.

    Sunang vies in women’s long jump on Tuesday, and Alora in the +67 kg of women’s taekwondo on August 20.

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