Quiban sizzles with 65, trails by 3; Tabuena, Que in the mix

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Quiban sizzles with 65, trails by 3; Tabuena, Que in the mix
Justin Quiban

MANILA, Philippines – Justin Quiban put up a remarkable performance coming off a long break, initiating with a strong start and posting an even more impressive finish. He carded a six-under 65 and got into the early mix in the rich Malaysian Open led by India’s Veer Ahlawat and Thai veteran Jazz Janewattananond at the Mines Resort and Golf Club in Seri Kembangan Thursday.

Quiban’s late tee start proved to be no hindrance as he flashed superb form, birdying three of the first six holes then bouncing back from a miscue on No. 9 with a solid four-birdie binge at the backnine.

With a 33-32 card, the Filipino ace joined six others at sixth place, just three strokes off Ahlawat and Janewattananond in an auspicious start in the $1 million championship kicking off this year’s Asian Tour season.

Miguel Tabuena likewise turned in an impressive round, a 66 marked by five birdies in the last 12 holes, earning him a spot at joint 13th.

The ICTSI-backed shotmaker, who finished No. 2 in last year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit derby on the strength of his victory in India, birdied No. 3, also in a late tee-off, then, like Quiban, rebounded from a mishap on the fifth with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9.

He sustained his charge with another feat on the 10th then broke a run of pars with closing back-to-back birdies for a pair of 33s.

Angelo Que, on the other hand, carded a 67 for joint 23rd in a starting field of 150 with the three-time Asian Tour winner gunning two birdies in a backside start then going four-under with birdies on Nos. 3 and 5.

He stumbled with a bogey on the eighth but recovered the stroke on the next to save a 33-34.

Ahlawat, meanwhile, flourished in one of the morning flights, rattling off five birdies in the first nine holes then matching his binge in the first eight holes at the back. But he missed seizing the solo lead with a bogey on the last hole for a 30-32.

Janewattananond, a former Asian Tour No. 1, matched his exploits with a solid 31-31 spiked by an eagle on the par-5 No. 11 as the duo grabbed a one-stroke lead over Canada’s Richard Lee, who churned out a nine-birdie spree against a lone birdie for a 63 as majority of the field conquered the par-71 layout with 98 players breaking par.

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