Miguel Tabuena kept his fiery run despite a switch in tee-times, scorching the Legends’ backside with a 31 for a bogey-free 64 and a two-stroke lead over Ian Andrew of Indonesia halfway through the Aboitiz Invitational 2017 at the Manila Southwoods in Carmona, Cavite on Wednesday.
As erstwhile joint leader James Bowen of the US failed to sustain his hot start and local ace Angelo Que recovered late to get back into the thick of things, Tabuena endured tougher condition in overcast skies in afternoon play, rattling off four straight birdies from No. 13 en route to an eight-under card.
But it was his back-to-back birdies from No. 7 that shoved him past Andrew as the former Olympian moved ahead at 15-under 129 while leading 50 others into the final 36 holes of the $100,000 championship serving as the kickoff leg of the inaugural PGT Asia Tour put up by ICTSI.
“It’s going to be tough tomorrow (today), especially with Angelo (Que) around,” said Tabuena, who made just one bogey in his 65 in an early start Tuesday and credited his new TaylorMade M2 driver for his solid game despite a long layoff.
“I feel comfortable with it although the key tomorrow (today) is good driving and putting,” he added.
The 25-year-old Andrew, who shot a bogey-free 66 for joint fifth with six others in the first round, actually turned in a more impressive two-day effort than Tabuena, hitting seven birdies, spiked by a three-birdie string from No. 13, to emerge the lone player with an unblemished card through 36 holes for a 131.
Que, who shared the opening day honors with Bowen on an eagle and six-birdie feat for a sizzling 64, stumbled with back-to-back missed green bogeys from No. 11 but rebounded with five birdies the rest of the way, saving a 69 and earning a spot in today’s featured flight at 133, four strokes off Tabuena.
“It was a good 69 for me. I played back especially in the early holes,” rued Que.
Charles Hong rallied with a 65 and tied Singaporean Koh Deng Shan, runner-up to Malaysia Gavin Green here in last year’s ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship who carded a 70, at fourth at 136 while PGT Asia Tour Q-School topnotcher Pasavee Lertvilai slowed down with a 71 to drop to a share of sixth with Swede Fredrik From (70), Korean-American Micah Shin (68) and Arnold Villacencio (71).
Bowen found the going tough after an easy start, hitting just two birdies against a bogey and a triple-bogey on No. 4 as he limped with a 74 to slip to joint 10th at 138 with Ira Alido (68), Aussie Andrew Campbell (71), Jobim Carlos (70), Rico Depilo (68), American Lexus Keoninh (67) and James Ryan Lam (70).
Defending champion Jay Bayron also stood too far behind at 139 despite a 67 in a tie with Tony Lascuña (69), Ferdie Aunzo (65), Thai Wisut Artjanawat (70), Zanieboy Gialon (72), Michael Bibat (74), Elmer Salvador (68), Macedonian Peter Stojanovski (70) and Indonesian Andrew Wirawan (73).
The cut was pegged at one-under 143 with Swede Andreas Gronkvist (70), American Paul Harris (71), Gerald Rosales (69) and Orlan Sumcad (70) tying for the last four slots.
Among those who failed to make the grade were Mhark Fernando (73-144), Keanu Jahns (70-144), John Michael O’Toole (71-144), Rufino Bayron, Mars Pucay (73-145), Jhonnel Ababa () and PGT two-leg winner Clyde Mondilla (71-147).
The event, organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., is backed by Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Champion, Summit Mineral Water, K&G Golf Apparel, BDO, Sharp, KZG, PLDT and M.Y. Shokai Technology, Inc.