Tabuena takes Anvaya Cove crown in bizarre finish

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tabuena20160214Miguel Tabuena bounced back from a third day fold up and claimed the ICTSI Anvaya Cove Invitational crown by three over Clyde Mondilla with a 70 as Tony Lascuna bombed out with a 78 in a wacky finish at the windy Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club in Morong, Bataan.

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Tabuena blew an eight-shot lead over Lascuna with a horrendous 77 Friday but fought back from four strokes down with a gritty backside charge, turning what was expected to be a thriller of an ending into a runaway win as Lascuna blew it all with an uncharacteristic closing pair of 39s.

In the end, youth prevailed over experience as Tabuena capped his final round brilliance with a solid 33 at the back for that 70, finishing the 72-hole, P3.5 million ICTSI-sponsored championship with a nine-under 279.

“I was confident I can do it and I’m happy I made it,” said Tabuena, 21, who added the crown, worth P650,000, to his growing list of victories in a young career.

After taking the crown in brief rites, Tabuena rushed back to Manila where he is set to share center stage with fighters Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes in the PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Awards Night as co-Athletes of the Year for his breakthrough season in 2015, capped by his Philippine Open romp.

“My driver was a big factor and unlike in the third round, the wind shifted to my favor,” said Tabuena, referring to his disastrous 77 Friday that dropped him from eight-up to four-down off Lascuna.

It was indeed a perfect weekend to the young shotmaker who launched his title drive in this kickoff leg of the 2016 ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour with a course-record setting 10-under 62 Wednesday. He slowed down with a 70 in the second round but kept a six-shot lead over Jay Bayron but reeled back with an ego-deflating 77 as Lascuna took his turn to shine with a 65 and went from eight-down to four-up.

But in a strange turnaround, Lascuna lost his focus and touch while Tabuena regained his bearing and rhythm, birdying Nos. 10 and 11 for the fourth straight day to draw level then gunned down another birdie from close range on No. 14 to wrest back a two-shot lead.

Lascuna still hung on to a two-stroke edge despite a 39 start but bogeyed No. 12 to yield the lead and bowed out with a double bogey on the treacherous par-4 No. 17, which also ruined Tabuena’s third day stint with a seven. He wound up with a 78 and tumbled down to third at 283 worth P240.000.

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