Tabuena ties Dabawenyo at helm with solid 62

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TABUENA

Miguel Tabuena continued to dish out solid games rarely seen from teeners, shooting another flawless round of six-under 62 and catching Dabawenyo Rufino Bayron at the helm halfway P2.5 million ICTSI Camp John Hay Championship at the John Hay Golf Club yesterday.

Tabuena, 18, hit two birdies at the front then rattled off four birdies at the back in impressive fashion for that 62 when heavy rain fell and the round was suspended due to lightning with seven flights still out to complete play.

“I just stuck to my game plan – be patient,” said Tabuena, whose well laid-out strategy on this short but tricky course kept him on track for another crack at the crown on the ICTSI Philippine Golf Tour.

“It’s a matter of hitting the greens right since they are slow and hard,” added Tabuena, who fired a bogey-less 61 Wednesday and now within 36 holes away from scoring rare back-to-back victories and banking another P450,000 purse after essaying an eight-shot romp at ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic.

He pooled a 13-under 123, the same output put in by title-hungry Rufino Bayron, the first round solo leader who needed a spectacular 4-iron second shot from 250 yards that rolled to within a foot for eagle on the par-5 17th to shoot a 63 and stay in the lead in the 72-hole championship sponsored by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

“I really went for the green on No. 17 nearly made an albatross,” said Bayron, chasing his first pro title although he had won one when he was still an amateur five years ago.

“Magandang laban ito,” added Bayron, hoping to take the best out of the young Tabuena in the featured flight today.

Michael Bibat, also out to snap a four-year title drought in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., also eagled the 17th from 40 feet to turn in the day’s best score of seven-under 61 after a 63, putting him in the final threesome at 124.

“It’s better not to come up with expectations, so there is less pressure. That also keeps my focus on the game,” said the Srixon-backed Bibat, whose best finish in a four-year pro career was second in the Malaysian leg of the Asean PGA Tour in 2008.

Clyde Mondilla, one of those stranded, hoped to break into the top three with a three-under card and a running 10-under total with six holes left to play while Tony Lascuna bucked a back injury with a second straight 64 to join a faltering Jhonnel Ababa, who settled for a 67 after a 61 at 128, five shots off the joint leaders.

Five players stood at seven-under 129, including Zanie Boy Gialon (62), Rolando Marabe (65) and last year’s champion Marvin Dumandan (65) with Jay Bayron and Carl Santos-Ocampo also assembling a seven-under overall card with three holes to play.

Thirty six players have so far broke par, six more than in the first round, with 21 more still to complete play at presstime although condition is expected to get tougher in the final two days with soggy fairways and testy pin placements.

The event, sponsored by ICTSI, backed by Nike Golf, Empire Golf and Sports Shop, Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon, Foot Joy, Callaway, Pacsports, Custom Clubmakers, Cleveland Golf and Sharp with Balls, Studio 23, Pinoygolfer.com and Inquirer Golf as media partners.(pr)

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BAYRON

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