Young Filipino prospect Miguel Tabuena has set his sights on a second Asian Tour title when he returns to one of his favourite destinations for the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup later this month.
The 21-year-old Tabuena, who is the reigning Philippine Open champion, will headline an elite field alongside Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, S.S.P. Chawrasia of India and South African Shaun Norris, all top-10 players on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, at the Ibaraki Country Club.
New Asian Tour winners Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei and Carlos Pigem of Spain, Thai veteran stars Thaworn Wiratchant and Prayad Marksaeng, will also feature in the ¥150,000,000 (approximately US$1.3 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Hideki Matsuyama, Hideto Tanihara and Yuta Ikeda, the leading three Japanese players on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) with Matsuyama ranked the highest in 16th position, will spearhead the local charge in what is the Asian Tour’s second stop in Japan this season.
Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa, who won on his domestic Tour last month after struggling with lower back issues, will also make his first appearance on the Asian Tour this season at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, slated to take place from September 22 to 25.
Tabuena hopes a good showing in Japan will add to his successful exploits so far this season, where he had notched three top-10s to sit in fourth place on the Order of Merit.
His current haul of US$354,176 has also surpassed his previous single season earning’s record since turning professional in 2011.
“Playing in Japan is always fun. We always get good crowds especially on Sunday. I just love playing in Japan. I love the people and the food. I have not really performed well in Japan before so I am looking forward to doing well at the Diamond Cup,” said Tabuena.
Tabuena’s career has been on the upswing since he won his first Asian Tour title at the Philippine Open presented by ICTSI last December. He made his Major debut at the U.S. Open in June and represented his country at the Olympic Games last month.
“You can expect good quality greens and tight fairways in Japan. It is always fun playing in front of a big crowd. Japan will be the start of a long stretch of Asian Tour events so I hope to gain some momentum there,” he added.
Other notable players include former Asian Tour Order of Merit champions Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, EurAsia Cup star Shingo Katayama of Japan, Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, Danny Chia of Malaysia and China’s Liang Wen-chong.