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Tabuena is first PGT Asia champ

CARMONA, Cavite – Miguel Tabuena edged Angelo Que in a gripping high-noon shootout to capture the Aboitiz Invitational crown and become the first winner of the inaugural PGT Asia Tour at the Manila Southwoods here yesterday.

Tabuena moved past Que and Indonesian Ian Andrew with a solid 31 start but blew a two-stroke lead as Que ran off a cluster of birdies at the back only to blink with a costly double-bogey on par-3 16th, enabling the 22-year-old Rio Olympics veteran to regain the lead and snare the fiercely-disputed crown on a closing bogey-free 65.

“It’s a great win. My putting was so good today (yesterday),” said Tabuena, who sealed the win with a clutch uphill birdie putt from 10 feet at the par-5 17th to negate Que’s tap-in birdie. “But as I’ve said, it was not going to be easy, especially with Angelo around.”

Que, one ahead of Tabuena and Andrew after 54 holes, fell behind after nine holes despite a 34 but regained a one-stroke lead with four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 10. But he mishit a 7-iron tee-shot while tackling the wind on the 170-yard No. 16 and found the water, failing to save a bogey from eight feet.

That shoved Tabuena, who made a regulation par, back in the lead before matching Que’s closing birdie and par to pocket the crown and the top $17,500 purse on a 23-under 265 total in the annual event sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

Que ended up with a 67 and settled for second at 266 worth $11,500 while Andrew, who actually grabbed the lead with two birdies in the first four holes but slipped back with a bogey on the fifth, took third place with a 271 and received $7,000.

The victory was Tabuena’s 13th on the local circuit, including the weather-shortened Philippine Open in late 2015 and the TCC Invitational and the Luisita Championship this year, and his latest feat should fire up the former child prodigy all the more as he shuttles to and from Asia and Europe in search of world ranking points the rest of the season.