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Miguel Tabuena tames brutal TCC course with record-shattering 64

STA ROSA, Laguna, January 24 ------ Miguel Tabuena roared to a six-stroke lead in the opening round of the TCC Invitation on Tuesday, firing a record 8-under-par 64 in a dominant performance that may have reduced the tournament into a battle for second place. Considered the country's best golfer, Tabuena, 29, peppered the Country Club course, the nation's longest at 7,735 yards, with nine birdies after opening his round with a bogey. Local bets Tony Lascuna, Sean Ramos and Rico Dipilo, along with Korean Kim Min Seong were tied second with 70s, while Rico Dipilo had the day's other only subpar round, a 71, and was at solo fifth. “I didn’t expect to play like this but sometimes, with no expectations, you play better,” said the 2017 champion, who birdied all four par-5s, underlining his length off the tee. But his iron play and putting were also exceptional as attested by his nine birdies, all under 25 feet.


The field was gifted with benign conditions at the usually windy layout. But only Tabuena, who won The Country Club Match Play Invitational last November on this same course, was the only one who took full advantage. Counting Tabuena, only five players broke par, and just three others matched par 72 in the 60-man field. “It wasn’t as windy in the morning so the course actually played easier for the rest of the field. I would like it to be windier but I took advantage of the less wind and posted a good score at the frontnine and kept the momentum,” added Tabuena.


Tabuena’s 64 shattered the 67 posted by Micah Shin in the third round en route to winning this event in 2018. “He was good, his game was solid,” said Shin. Kim highlighted his round with three birdies in the last five holes while, Lascuña, the 2004 winner of this flagship tournament of the Philippine Golf Tour with a P6 million pot, put in a four-birdie, two-bogey card. Ramos fought his way back from a two-over card with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 8.


Reigning Order of Merit winner Jhonnel Ababa, shot a 72, tied joint sixth with Clyde Mondilla and Guido van der Valk, the Dutchman who won this event in 2020 and 2023. Angelo Que, considered a contender with his past record, shot a 73, tied with Ferdie Aunzo, Reymon Jaraula, Rupert Zaragosa and last year’s runner-up Lloyd Go. Tabuena's opening hole bogey was a result of a mishit opening drive. The bad start apparently woke up Tabuena, second in last year's Asian Tour Order of Merit, and one of many who unsuccessfully tried their luck to join the LIV Tour. He birdied the second and third holes and tallied three more successively from the sixth. The others came on the 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th. “I kept the ball it in the fairway and made my putting do the work. Hopefully, my putting stays hot for the next three days,” said Tabuena. "But it’s still a long way to go, there are still three more days," he added.




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