Quiban shines with 66, trails by 1 in Saudi Open

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Quiban shines with 66, trails by 1 in Saudi Open
This handout from the Asian Tour taken and released on February 24, 2022 shows Philippines' Justin Quiban playing a shot during round one of the Royal's Cup golf tournament in Kanchanaburi.
Paul Lakatos / Asian Tour / AFP

MANILA, Philippines -- Justin Quiban flourished in a solid backside start, shooting a five-under 66 to trail American John Catlin by just one stroke after 18 holes of the Saudi Open at the Riyadh Golf Club in Saudi Arabia Wednesday.

Quiban birdied the first two holes then struck a solid iron shot to net another stroke on the par-3 No. 14. He sustained his momentum and gunned down three more birdies against a bogey at the front to produce a pair of 33s that lifted him to joint second in one of his strongest starts on the Asian Tour.

Despite struggling with his long game, missing eight fairways, Quiban showcased exceptional iron play, hitting all but two greens and finishing with 28 putts, earning him a spot at second alongside Wade Ormsby, Tasunori Shogenji and Scott Hend.

Catlin, a former campaigner on the Philippine Golf Tour and PGT Asia, likewise sizzled at the back, matching Quiban’s solid three-under card. Unlike the Filipino shotmaker, however, he sustained form in the last nine holes, birdying Nos. 1, 2 and 7 to complete a bogey-free round and seize control in the $1 million championship.

While Quiban positioned himself well, compatriots Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena faced challenges, posting 72 and 73, respectively, at the par-71 desert layout.

Que also grappled with his driver, missing nine fairways. The three-time Asian Tour winner also struggled on his way to the green, going out of regulation eight times.

He, however, made 29 putts to join 15 others at 55th place.

Tabuena bogeyed two of the first three holes at the front and made a double bogey on the par-4 No. 5 for a 39. A pitch-in eagle on the par-4 No. 10 and a birdie on the next, however, sparked hopes for a big rebound for last year’s DGC Open in India.

But he bogeyed No. 14 and parred the rest for a 73 and found himself in danger of missing the cut at joint 71st in a full-packed field of 144.

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