Quiban moves into contention with 66; Tabuena also advances

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Quiban moves into contention with 66; Tabuena also advances
Justin Quiban

MANILA, Philippines – Justin Quiban missed completing a scorching frontside finish with a late mishap but his six-under 66 lifted him from joint 84th to a share of 21st, six strokes behind Thai veteran Chapchai Nirat halfway through the Yeangder TPC at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club in Taiwan Friday.

Seeking just a spot in the weekend play of the $700,000 event after shaky 73 Thursday, Quiban now found himself earning a shot at the crown with a 139 total with 36 holes left to play in the first of two Asian Tour events slated in Chinese Taipei.

Though he stood six shots adrift of Nirat, who sizzled with a 24-putt performance on his way to a 64 and a 133, Quiban hoped to build on his searing rally in the last nine holes that saw him birdie four of the first five before three-putting the par-3 No. 8.

He actually set the tone for his comeback after snapping a four-par game with a birdie on No. 14 then hit two solid shots and made an eagle on the par-5 18th for a 33.

He missed four fairways and went out of regulation five times but finished with 28 putts while saving pars on Nos. 10, 11, 15 and 17. He could’ve shot lower but flubbed a couple of chances on Nos. 6, 7 and 9.

Miguel Tabuena also fought back with a 69 after a 72 as he improved to a share of 35th at 141, eight shots off Nirat, but Angelo Que missed the cut by one with a second straight 72 for a 144.

Unlike Quiban, Tabuena struggled in a backside start with a 36 but like the former, the 2014 playoff loser here charged back at the front, birdying three of the first four holes then adding another on the eight.

The ICTSI-backed ace, however, missed getting up-and-down on the par-4 ninth.

Like majority of the rest, Nirat dominated Linkou’s frontside with six birdies for a 30 and a 64 that included three other birdies at the back against a bogey on the par-3 17th as he a two-stroke lead over a mix of aces, including compatriot Settee Prakongvech, local bet Chieh Po Lee, Ajeetesh Sandhu of India and American Berry Henson, a former Philippine Open champion.

Prakongvech hit three birdies on both nines for a solid 66, Chieh and Sandhu matched 68s while Henson birdied the first three holes at the front, added another on the 10th before holing out with another for a bogey-free 67.

Taiwan will also host next week's Mercuries Masters, a $1 million event at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.




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