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Miguel Tabuena all but kissed his medals hopes goodbye Friday after shooting a four-over-par 75 that put him near the bottom of the 60-man field at the Rio Olympics.
Tabuena blamed a shoulder injury which he said had affected him since Thursday for the bad round which tied him at 54th place after 36 holes at the Olympic Golf Club.
But to hear it from the 21-year-old Tabuena, the country’s top golfer, all is not lost although he is 16 strokes behind the leader and 14 behind the bronze contender Henrik Stenson of Sweden who is in third place.
And between him and the third placer are 51 other players.
“Hopefully I go out with my guns blazing tomorrow,” he said, his confidence unwavering despite the bad score and the ailing shoulder. “That’s the only chance we can get a medal here. I am pretty far down but I have shot very low before and I don’t see why I can’t do it again,” he said.
“I’m trying to enjoy. It’s all part of the experience. And I wanted for everyone to know that I am not giving up until the last day.”
Tied for 42nd after the first round, Tabuena said he started feeling the pain Thursday but had hoped it would get better. Instead, he said, it got worse during the second round, the pain coming at the end of his follow through.
The injury bothered Tabuena during the entire round which started with a morning drizzle and ended under a warm afternoon sun. With his opening-round 73, he now has a 148 total, which is better than just six other players.
Fraser held on to the lead, hitting a 69 after a 63 for a 132 total, just a stroke ahead of Thomas Pieters of Belgium (67-66–133) and two up on reigning British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden (66-68 — 134).
Tabuena said the shoulder pain bothered him but the thought that he was of playing for the country made him ignore the discomfort.
“If this wasn’t the Olympics and if I didn’t have this flag on my shirt, I would have pulled out already. But we have two more days and anything can happen,” said the reigning Philippine Open champion.
At the Athletes Village, Martin Camara, a noted Filipino chiropractor, checked on his shoulder. A Brazilian chiropractor also came by to help assess the injury.
After the session, Tabuena said he felt much better.
“I’m okay now but not a hundred percent yet. I hope it gets better in the morning,” said Tabuena.
Camara, who helps oversee the condition of the Filipino athletes here, said he worked on Tabuena’s shoulder injury, something “that was coming from the neck area and needed a simple realignment of the muscles.”
“I played with what I had. Actually I am feeling a bit of pain on my right shoulder now. It started Thursday morning when I woke up. It’s not a really, really painful pain, but it’s something that I think about,” said Tabuena.
“It’s bad enough to get me thinking about that instead of my golf. This is the first time I felt this. I’ve had a wrist injury, back pains but I never had pain on my right shoulder. It’s a funny feeling. It hurts in the follow through and finish,” he said.
A bogey right on the first hole presaged the day’s adventure for Tabuena.