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Tabuena wins at Luisita

TARLAC – Miguel Tabuena pulled off one of the most stirring comebacks in local golf history yesterday, battling from five strokes down to beat South African Mathiam Keyser in sudden death in the ICTSI Luisita Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here.

Tabuena closed out with a bogey-free, six-under par 66 to tie Keyser at 11-under 277 and won the playoff after his rival hooked his tee shot into the water in the first extra hole at 18th.

“I’m very happy because I made it despite the odds where I trailed all throughout,” said Tabuena who earned $10,500.

In the anti-climactic playoff, Tabuena saved par while Keyser three-putted for double bogey.

It marked the third time Tabuena won at Luisita. He ruled the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) Open and topped the rain-shortened Philippine Open, both in 2015.

Overnight leader John Michael O’Toole birdied the first hole, but made two double bogeys in a round of 76, falling into joint seventh at 280.

Keanu Jahns put in a bogey-free 65 and posted a career-best solo third at 278 worth $4,200 while Ababa salvaged a 70 and tied Tony Lascuña and American Brett Munson at fourth at 279. Each received $2,740.

Aussie David Gleeson shot the day’s other 65 and tied O’Toole and Americans Paul Harris (68) and John Catlin (72) at 280. Each got $1,507.

The event, kicking off a four-week PGT swing, was organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.

Next up is the ICTSI Orchard Championship on May 10-13 and the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship on May 17-20, both $60,000 events, while the revival of the ICTSI-Villamor Philippine Masters will be held on May 24-27.