Tabuena falters as Kuchar cruises to 3-shot romp
Dante Navarro (Philstar.com) - January 19, 2020 - 4:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — Miguel Tabuena lost his touch, rhythm and all when it mattered most, limping with a five-over 76 and ending up joint eighth in the Singapore Open ruled by Matt Kuchar at Sentosa’s Serapong course Sunday.

Just three strokes behind Kuchar after 54 holes, Tabuena failed to go up-and-down on Nos. 3 and 5 that snapped an impressive bogey-free run in the last 38 holes, needing to knock down a putt from short range on the last hole to avoid finishing without a birdie.

But his closing 39-37 that included four more bogeys on Nos. 9, 12, 14 and 16 ruined what could’ve been an explosive campaign by the 25-year-old Filipino shotmaker in the $1 million event after putting himself in contention with rounds of 68, 65 and 66.

But he cracked under pressure while playing alongside Kuchar and last year’s champion Jazz Janewattananond, missing five fairways and six greens while struggling with 36 putts, marred by a couple of three-putt miscues on Nos. 14 and 16.

He wound up with a 275 for joint eighth with Danny Masrin (68) of Indonesia and India’s Rashid Khan (70), nine shots behind Kuchar, who bucked a triple-bogey mishap on No. 7 with three birdies and clutch pars in the last 11 holes.

The many-time PGA Tour winner closed out with a 70 for an 18-under 266, pocketing the $180,000 purse in his first stint in the annual event co-sanctioned by Asian Tour and Japan PGA Tour.

The veteran American campaigner likewise held off a late charge by former world No. 1 and reigning Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose of England, who rallied with a backside 31 for a 67. He snatched runner-up honors at 269 while Janewattanond, tied with Tabuena heading to the last 18 holes, also wavered when the going got tough, but salvaged a 71 for solo third at 270.

Young Korean Kim Joo Hyung placed fourth with 271 after a 71, Richard Lee of Canada fumbled with a 72 for fifth at 272 while Thai Poom Saksansin and Ryosuke Kinoshita tied for sixth at 273 after 65 and 67, respectively.
The poor finish likewise spoiled Tabuena’s bid for one of the four slots in The Open set in July in England although his joint eighth effort still netted him $21,666.67 (P1.1 million).

Angelo Que rallied with a 67 to gain a share of 24th at 281 while Fil-Am Justin delos Santos matched par 71 for joint 48th at 287.

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