Tabuena ends slump, rallies to win Eagle Ridge Challenge

The Philippine Star
Tabuena ends slump, rallies to win Eagle Ridge Challenge
Miguel Tabuena
STAR / File

GEN. TRIAS, Cavite , Philippines — Miguel Tabuena ended a two-year drought as he rallied to a two-stroke triumph in the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Challenge yesterday at the Aoki course.

Tabuena charged back from three shots down off Justin Quiban, unloading a frontside birdie spree to seize control. He then held off Zanieboy Gialon’s threat towards the finish to reign supreme for the first time since his Queen’s Cup title romp in the 2018 Asian Tour.

The two-time Philippine Open champion and former Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit winner closed out with a 68 for a 282 aggregate.

“We just stuck to our game plan and everything worked pretty well for me,” said Tabuena, who fumbled early but used his experience to rebound strong, producing four birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 3 to storm ahead.

As Quiban faded with a disastrous triple-bogey 7 on No. 13, Tabuena held sway and claimed a two-shot victory on a birdie-birdie feat from No. 16. The champ netted P360,000.

“We knew Justin won’t gonna give up as well as Zanieboy. But I guess I have the experience, having played here a few times,” said Tabuena, who notched his second Phl Open at The Country Club in early 2018, his last local triumph before shifting his campaign abroad.

“I was pretty familiar with the conditions and it wasn’t the hardest because the greens were actually in good shape and it was pretty easy to read the putts.”

Tabuena, who never figured in the title chase in PGT’s return in new normal at Riviera, actually fell by as many as three in the early going as Quiban turned a one-shot lead after 54 holes into a three-stroke cushion on a two-shot swing (birdie-bogey) on No. 2.

But he birdied Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 9 to wrest control then watched Quiban crumble on No. 13 before foiling Gialon’s charge at the finish.

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