Yeangder Tournament Players ChampionshipMiguel Tabuena of the Philippines is on track to erase last year’s heartbreak after grabbing a two-shot lead at the weather-shortened Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Saturday.

Tabuena, who was defeated by Prom Meesawat on the second play-off hole last year, fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 to lead on 11-under-par 133 in the US$500,000 Asian Tour tournament which has been reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather on Friday.

Rookie Natipong Srithong of Thailand also shot a 65 to tie for second place alongside home favourite Lin Wen-tang (68) of Chinese Taipei at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.  

Niall Turner of Ireland bounced back from a back injury to share fourth place with Lien Lu-sen of Chinese Taipei and Shaun Norris of South Africa as they posted a 66, 65 and 68 respectively for a 136 total.

Tabuena settled for an easy birdie on the opening hole when his 12-foot eagle putt lipped out. He added three more birdies in each half to put himself in prime position to settle the score.

“I want to seek vengeance. Hopefully I can get it done tomorrow. I know I’m playing well at the moment. There are a few players behind me including Lin Wen-tang. But I’m not worried. If he can go low so can I,” said the 20-year-old.

Tabuena said he is more matured now after winning four titles on the local circuit this year including the Order of Merit title.

“If I stick to my game plan and focus on myself and the course, then I can get it done. In the past when I was in the final group, I always played against the opponent and not the course but I’ve matured now and won’t make the same mistake,” said the Filipino.

Lin, a six-time Asian Tour winner, hopes to become the first local winner since 2011 after charging into contention with six birdies against two bogeys.

“I’m happy with my result. I think I’ll give myself a score of 95 out of 100. Somebody told me to shoot five-under tomorrow but I don’t want to think about a number. I just want to hit my ball and take my chances when it comes,” said the 41-year-old Lin.

The 22-year-old Natipong was the surprise package at the Yeangder TPC as he was playing in only his second tournament as a professional after joining the play-for-pay ranks two months ago.

“I’m very excited and nervous because I’m in position to win my first professional title. If I win, I will get an Asian Tour card and I don’t have to go to Qualifying School next year!” laughed the Thai, who fired eight birdies.

Turner, who stands at about 190 centimetres tall, was proud to bounce back from a disappointing injury earlier this year.

“It is a great feeling after what I’ve been through. I felt miserable in the first six months I was injured. I’m delighted to be back and playing well. I had a tear near my lower back and a few hip issues. It was an awful first six months so I’m glad to be back and in contention,” said the 32-year-old.

The cut was set on even-par 144 with a total of 71 players qualifying for the final round.


Scores after round 2 of the Yeangder TPC being played at the par 72, 7108 Yards Linkou GcC course (am – denotes amateur):

133 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 68-65.

135 – Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 70-65, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 67-68.

136 – Niall TURNER (IRL) 70-66, LIEN Lu-sen (TPE) 71-65, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 68-68.

137 – Keith HORNE (RSA) 69-68.

138 – Chikka S. (IND) 73-65, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 69-69, Danny CHIA (MAS) 71-67.

139 – LU Wen-teh (TPE) 68-71, HSU Hao-sheng (TPE) 69-70, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 70-69, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 68-71, Scott BARR (AUS) 69-70, Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 72-67.

140 – Akinori TANI (JPN) 70-70, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 72-68, Berry HENSON (USA) 70-70, LEE Sung (KOR) 72-68, HUNG Chun-kang (TPE) 67-73, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 69-71, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-70, Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 72-68, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 72-68, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 68-72.

141 – KAO Shang-hung (TPE) 72-69, Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 71-70, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 71-70, Ryosuke KINOSHITA (JPN) 75-66, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 70-71, Brett MUNSON (USA) 72-69, Christopher CANNON (ENG) 70-71, Jaco AHLERS (RSA) 70-71.

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