Miguel Tabuena. Asian Tour
Miguel Tabuena’s hot streak continued at the World City Championship Club at Hong Kong Golf, where he fired an outstanding seven-under 63 to take the lead on day one.
The Filipino won The DGC Open last week for his first victory on the Asian Tour since 2018 and he was bang in form again on the Composite Course at HKGC.
Hong Kong’s rising young star Taichi Kho shot a 64 and is second, ahead of Australian Scott Hend, who carded a 65.
Tabuena playing in the afternoon and in pursuit of Kho’s morning score was quickly into his stride with birdies on the first, third, fifth and sixth to make the turn in four-under. And a run of four birdies in a row from the 11th saw him take control of the $1 million tournament.
He dropped his only shot of the day on 16 and holed a brilliant 18 footer to save par on the last.
“I am riding on some of the momentum from last week,” said Tabuena, whose win last week was his third on the Asian Tour.
“It is nice to be bogey free for 34 holes including last week but I had an errant tee shot on 16 but other than that I am playing great golf. It is very early in the week to even think about the finish line but if I play the way I am playing I know I will give myself a good chance, on the back nine on Sunday.”
His victory last Sunday drained him both mentally and physically so his fitness coach Dr Harry Sese in the United States gave him some sound advice.
Tabuena said: “It’s been five years since I have experienced a victory on the Asian Tour and I got a text from Harry, who works on my fitness and is the main guy for Jon Rahm, saying: ‘Migs stay hydrated, I know your energy levels can be low especially after a win so it’s very important to recover.’”
Rookie professional Kho was unveiled as the Hong Kong Golf Club’s Ambassador this week and he has quickly repaid the famous club’s faith in him by also firing a brilliant round made up of an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey.
“Just an incredible start,” said 22-year-old, who made it through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January and made the cut in the two events he has played in so far.
“I went out there with no expectations. I was quite nervous, there has been a lot going on with media. I was really nervous waking up this morning but once I stepped onto the tee it kind of flowed. Had a good round but was more proud about how I was able to channel that. I used the nerves and adrenaline to my advantage.
“I have got to say thank you to everyone who came this week and will continue to come out, whether following me or other Hong Kong players, it’s really great to feel that kind of support.”
Kho has played here many times and became a member in January and so was able to draw on his extensive local knowledge of the Composite Course — which uses the best holes from the New and Eden courses.
He said: “I realised certain clubs off the tee I was choosing quite differently from my playing partners. In that sense I see the golf course in a certain way. Whenever I see certain shots I feel very confident that’s the right shot.”
England’s Ian Poulter, the 2010 Hong Kong Open champion, shot a 68, while Wade Ormsby, the Hong Kong Open winner in 2017 and 2020 and the International Series Thailand two weeks ago, from Australia came in with a 69.