Australians poised in Philippines
BY Bruce Young | Asian Tour | 2014 Solaire Open | 15 Mar 2014
Australians Matthew Griffin and Dimitiros Papadatos are well enough placed at the halfway stage of the Solaire Open at the Country Club in Manila.
Griffin is in a share of 4th position and just two shots from the lead after rounds of 68 and 69 while recent New Zealand Open winner, Papadatos, is in 9th place after a second round of 69.
Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena, the current and future hope for golf in the Philippines, were tied for the lead at the halfway stage of the US$300,000 event.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner but not since 2010, fired the day’s lowest score with a flawless six-under-par 65 while Tabuena shot a 68 to share the lead on seven-under-par 135 total at the challenging The Country Club.
India’s S.S.P. Chowrasia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, registered a 68 to lie one shot back in third place. Griffin and Bryce Easton of South Africa and Griffin were tied for fourth to trail the leaders by two.
The bubbly Que signalled his strong intentions to win the Solaire Open after being motivated by the challenge from his coach Bong Lopez, who was celebrating his birthday today.
“I’ve been working hard with my coach and we really want to win this year. Working and hanging out with him gives me a lot of confidence. It is a big advantage when you play on home soil. I think this is the biggest chance for me to win,” said Que, who holed 25 putts today.
“Before I teed off, my coach told me to shoot a 65 as his birthday gift! Luckily I managed to do just that,” laughed Que, who enjoyed a career best 13th placed finish on the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The 19-year-old Tabuena, who is searching for his first Asian Tour victory, was denied the outright lead when his chip for birdie on 18 stopped half an inch from the hole.
“It stopped about half an inch from the hole. I was waiting for the wind to pick but nothing happened!” lamented Tabuena, who was a silver medallist winner in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010.
The highly rated teenager said that the experience gained from the 2011 Philippine Open has prepared him for the final two rounds. He was in contention in his National Open three years ago before settling for tied 11th following a final round 81.
“I’ve been in contention before. I just go to tell myself not to get ahead of myself. I’ve done that so many times and it caught me in the end. If I follow my game plan, which is to shoot one-under in each half then I will have a chance,” said Tabuena.
Chowrasia, winner of the 2008 EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters and 2011 Avantha Masters event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, turned in another consistent round after making changes to his putting stance.
“My putting was good. I really struggled with my putting in the last few months but I made a small change in my putting stance. Now my hand is positioned slightly in front instead of behind,” he explained.
The Indian, who is the son of a greenkeeper at Royal Calcutta Golf Club, registered a second consecutive 68 and expressed his fondness of playing under windy conditions.
“There’s no secret to my good scores. No doubt, the course is very challenging and it reminds me of the courses in Europe but the weather there is obviously colder! I like to play on windy courses because I hit my balls really low. Unfortunately, I had one bad drive (out of bounds) on the fifth hole for a double bogey,” said Chowrasia.
The halfway cut was set at three-over-par 145 with a total of 69 players making the weekend rounds.
Leading scores after round 2 of the Solaire Open being played at the par 71, 7206 Yards The Country Club course (a- denotes amateur):
135 – Angelo QUE (PHI) 70-65, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-68.
136 – S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND) 68-68.
137 – Bryce EASTON (RSA) 69-68, Matthew GRIFFIN (AUS) 68-69.
138 – Zanie Boy GIALON (PHI) 68-70, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 68-70, WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 71-67.
139 – Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 69-70, Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG) 70-69, Dimitrios PAPADATOS (AUS) 70-69, David LIPSKY (USA) 71-68.