Friday, June 15, 2012


Samui, Thailand: Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena produced a gutsy comeback with a battling one-under-par 70 to share the halfway lead with in-form Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant in the Queen’s Cup today.
The 17-year-old Tabuena was three-over through six holes on a wind-swept day at the Santiburi Samui Country Club before brilliantly fighting back with four birdies on his inward nine for a two-day total of five-under-par 137 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Thaworn, former Asian Tour number one with 12 career wins, produced an impressive 67 to give himself a chance of tying countryman Thongchai Jaidee’s record 13 Asian Tour victories.
A solid 68 put Bangladeshi Siddikur, whose career first top-10 was achieved two years ago in Samui, in third place, one back, while India’s Anirban Lahiri, bound for the British Open next month, was a further stroke behind following a 68 as well.
Reigning Asian Tour number one Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines fired the day’s best of 65, thanks to an eagle at the last, to jump into contention on 140 alongside Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Panuphol PIttayarat. Thailand’s 56-year-old Boonchu Ruangkit, who shared the overnight lead on Thursday, shot a 74 for 141.
Tabuena, the co-overnight leader, was delighted with the way he fought back from his tough start. “I just kept telling myself to hang on as anything can happen. It’s not easy to win and you’ve just got to grind. It was really hard … the wind was very strong but after six holes it started to calm down and that’s when I started to play better,” said the slightly built Filipino.
He spectacularly chipped in for birdie on 11 before producing a grandstand finish. A 20-foot conversion on 15 was followed by a six-foot birdie at the next hole. He then stuck a chip to two-feet at the last to give himself a chance at winning a maiden Asian Tour victory.
“I didn’t notice those three birdies at the end as when you’re in the zone, you’re just having fun,” said a smiling Tabuena, who is in his second year as a professional. “I think I’m on top of my game now. The first few events on Tour, I was very emotional but you learn as you play more and bigger events. I know now what it takes to win,” he added.
Thaworn, who has one of the most unorthodox golf swings in the game, has been on form on the domestic circuit with two wins and a runner-up finish. He also won a regional tournament in Laos during the four-week run.
“I just enjoy myself. I’m relaxed and I like to play,” said the 45-year-old, who posted six birdies against two bogeys.
“I hit a lot of good tee shots. The winds were blowing but I made a lot of fairways, only missed one on 17. I have the confidence to win. I’m not too concerned about the record wins as anyone can break it. I haven’t chased it. I’m just trying my best but I would like to win the Queen’s Cup.”
With his straight hitting game, Siddikur stayed in the hunt for a second Asian Tour victory, thanks to four birdies against a lone bogey. “It was good, especially my putting,” said the Bangladeshi.
The strong winds sent scores soaring, with only nine players being in red figures after two rounds, but India’s Lahiri felt right at home in Samui with an impressive display. “When I was practising in Bangalore last week, it was surprisingly windy, much windier than here. I’ve been working a lot on controlling my ball flight which is the key on this course,” said Lahiri, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
Par 142 (2x71) Yardage 6,815
137 Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-70, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 70-67.
138 SIDDIKUR  (BAN) 70-68.
139 Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-68.
140 Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 68-72, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 72-68, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 75-65.
141 Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA) 67-74, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 68-73.
142 Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 73-69, Sam CYR (USA) 72-70, Himmat RAI (IND) 70-72, Guido VAN DER VALK (NED) 70-72.
143 Varut CHOMCHALAM (THA) 72-71, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 70-73, Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN) 74-69, Guy WOODMAN (ENG) 72-71, Pattaraphol KHANTHACHA (THA) 73-70, Wasin SRIPATTRANUSORN (THA) 72-71.



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