Tabuena struggling but still fighting

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Miguel Tabuena contributed PHOTO

Miguel Tabuena
contributed PHOTO

Miguel Tabuena tried but failed to make the most out of the favorable playing conditions on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) and stayed near the bottom of the leader board entering the final round of the golf competition in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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Tabuena played with strips of muscle tape on his hurting right shoulder. He said it felt a little better than the other day and yet he could not turn in a round better than two-over-par 73, the same output he had in the opening round on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

The 21-year-old Filipino had a string of bogeys on the second, third and fourth holes. But he averted a total collapse with five straight pars and back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, just enough to cushion two more bogeys on the 13th and 15th.

He left the brand-new Olympic Golf Course with a 221 total as the big guns made their moves on a day that was far better than the opening round, which was too windy, and the second, when a downpour in the morning made it tougher for the 60-man field.

Tabuena was in 56th place at the end of the day, but stressed that he will play on despite his condition, and make the most out of this rare Olympic experience.

“One more day tomorrow,” said Tabuena, still trying to break par on the links course that was built for the Rio Olympics, and will be turned into a public course once the Games are done.

Tabuena said there’s no plan to quit even if playing with the hurting shoulder may jeopardize his chances in a few more tournaments toward the end of the year.

“I don’t really like it when I play in pain. For me, if I’m in pain I already pull the plug right away because it’s too risky. I have more tournaments at the end of the year. But this the Olympics. It’s hard to give up,” he said.

Tabuena had high expectations heading to Rio, and thought that a solid start and some luck can put him in medal contention as golf makes a comeback in the Olympics after 112 years.

“The first day I put too much pressure to myself, as well as the second day. I tried to shoot a low number. And if you try too hard in golf you can go haywire,” he said.

Three bogeys very early in the round, a three-putt from 45 feet on the second and then on missed greens on the others, stymied his chances.

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