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 in Koh Samui Friday.
The 17-year-old Tabuena was three-over through six holes on a wind-swept day at the Santiburi Samui Country Club before fighting back with four birdies on his inward nine for a two-day total five-under-par 137 in the $300,000 Asian Tour event.
Thaworn, a 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.
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.
Tabuena, the co-overnight leader, was delighted to fight back from his tough start, he told the Asian Tour.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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.
Leading scores after round 2 of the Queen’s Cup Bangkok Airways:
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