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Tabuena almost single-handedly carrying Pinoys

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Asian Tour MIGUEL Tabuena is counted upon to banner Filipino golfers abroad.

The likes of Dottie Ardina, Bianca Pagdanganan, Clariss Guce, Abegail Arevalo, Chanelle Avaricio, Pauline del Rosario, Princess Superal and Samantha Bruce have been busy seeing action in the United States and elsewhere.

Although their efforts weren’t as successful as erstwhile Philippine hotshot Yuka Saso, these ladies actively represent the country. That can’t be said in men’s golf.

While the list is long for Filipina golfers campaigning abroad — crisscrossing from LPGA to lower-ranked Epson Tour to Japan Tour’s Step-Up — there are only two Filipinos competing overseas. And only one of them has been making strides lately.

Miguel Tabuena, the 28-year-old former amateur hotshot, is currently No. 2 in the Asian Tour Order of Merit before the circuit took a break.

He managed to reach that high on account of his DGC title in India last March which sits on top of his 27 Top 10 finishes.

Already Tabuena has three Tour wins. But the titles came few and far between. Before DGC, he won in 2018 (Queen’s Cup) and 2015 (Philippine Open).

But his Indian triumph, plus the joint 9th place finish during the recent Kolon Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, enabled him to reach far.

On top of the heap is 25-year-old American Andy Ogletree. He has 969.52 points, against Tabuena’s 938.80.

Now Ogletree isn’t a Tour regular here. In fact, he stumbled into the regional circuit due to circumstances beyond his control: Injury and suspension.

The latter sealed his fate when the PGA sanctioned him last year for playing in a LIV-sponsored tournament. That is ironic because in a few months, LIV and PGA merged.

Back to the Asian Tour OOM, Justin Quiban was next Filipino up the ladder, presently at 70th, while Lloyd Go (120) and Angelo Que (191) follow suit.

Juvic Pagunsan is now playing on the Japan Tour, but the 45-year-old is nowhere near the spotlight nowadays.

Unlike Tabuena whose Korean Open finish — with three-over-par total and nine shots behind champion Han Seungsu — netted him $17,009.26. He was joint with South Koreans Han Jeongwoo, Shin Sanghun and Cho Mingyu.

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