Tabuena is all smiles ahead of Leopalace21 Myanmar Open
Yangon, January 24: Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena is hoping his fine form early in the season will steer him towards a second Asian Tour victory at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open which starts on Thursday.
Tabuena’s tied-eighth finish at the season-opening event in Singapore has given him an early head start on the Merit list where he currently sits in fourth place. After enjoying a tied-third result at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open last year, the 23-year- old believes he has the game for a podium finish at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club.
“I’m very happy that we are playing on the same course as I have very good memories here. I’m also coming off a good week at the same time. I just wish I had played one shot better so that I could get into The Open. I hitting the ball so well that it’s one of the best I’ve done in a long while. I also start off well in the season but tend to slack off a bit. I’ve planned my schedule better now as that I won’t be as tired as last year. I’ve changed my practice routines and I’m more focus and hungrier as I know I’m capable of doing way better than what I did last year. I’m going to start the year strong. I made a really bad mental error coming down the stretch in Manila last year but it’s a learning curve and I know I can handle pressure better this year,” said Tabuena.
Newly-wed Gaganjeet Bhullar of India is happy his marital bliss has brought a new dimension to his game and hopes for an improved performance after holding the lead in Singapore briefly last week.
The Indian holds eight victories on the Asian Tour and knows the art of winning against a strong field at the US$750,000 event that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
“I played my first event in Singapore last week and the goal is to get into a good momentum at the beginning of the season. Obviously I have to work hard to realize my goals for 2018. Getting married last month was definitely a new phase in my life and that happiness is also something which I know will be brought to the golf course. I played well for three days in Singapore and it was only just one day where I didn’t hit the ball the way I wanted to. I held the lead for probably two hours and it was good to see my name at the top of the leaderboard for some time. The game is getting better and hopefully the result will show in the coming weeks,” said Bhullar.
2017 Asian Tour Rookie of the Year, Micah Lauren Shin is also aiming to make a big impact following a very successful season in 2017.
The Korean American, who lives in Davao in the Philippines, has not only developed immensely as a player but has also adapted well to the changing demands of the game.
“I have set for myself some new goals especially with the start of the new season. But not the way I had wanted to start in Singapore as I missed the cut there. 2017 was a very good year but I would like to have an even better year in 2018. I’ve set higher goals for myself and that includes playing my way into bigger and higher profile events and finishing higher on the Order of Merit. I feel really comfortable on this golf course although I’m only here for the first time. I’m definitely more confident with myself. Since I’ve already won once, there’s no reason why I cannot do it again,” said Shin.
Did you know?
- Miguel Tabuena enjoyed five top-10 finishes in 2017 to end the year in 23rd place on the Order of Merit.
- Tabuena’s last and lone victory on the Asian Tour came in 2015 when he lifted his country’s National Open title.
- The Filipino finished in tied-38th place at the inaugural Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in 2016 but improved on that with a tied-third finish at the same event last year.
- Gaganjeet Bhullar missed the cut at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open after posting matching 73s in the first two rounds last year.
- He ended 2017 in 15th place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and started the year with a tied-27th finish at the season-opening event in Singapore last week.
- Bhullar is the first player to win eight titles on the Asian Tour before turning 30.
- Shin is a Korean-American. His grandparents are Americans while his mother is half-American.
- Shin ended his rookie year in 12th place on the Order of Merit. He only missed one cut in 13 events he played on the Asian Tour last year.
- Shin earned his maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour in Manila last year and became the youngest winner of that event.
- He is playing in Myanmar for the first time