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Tabuena enjoying elite company

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Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena is relishing the challenge of competing against some of the world’s best golfers when the SMBC Singapore Open starts on Thursday.

Tabuena’s confidence has been boosted by his breakthrough win on home soil in December last year and has set his sights on another famous victory at the Sentosa Golf Club this week.

“My game is good and I’m happy with where I’m right now. I know I’m capable of competing with the best. It’s nice to have Jordan Spieth here and hopefully my game will show up this week,” said the 21-year-old.

Making a welcome return after a three-year absence, the Singapore showpiece will be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) which features a stellar field that includes world number one Jordan Spieth of the United States.

Although the Filipino is playing alongside Japan’s Katsumasa Miyamoto and India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia in the first two rounds, he is hopeful of having Spieth for company if he progresses into the weekend round.

“Hopefully I will be paired with Jordan during the third or fourth round. My coach has told me to try to beat Jordan Spieth and if I can do that, it’ll be a good result,” said Tabuena.

Having turned professional since 2011, Tabuena has now learnt to cope with the demands of the game and is ready to chase for more glory on the region’s premier Tour.

“I’ve learnt to be more patient and have become more mature on how to handle myself on the golf course. I could not have done it without my support back home.

“Winning the Philippines Open was a dream come true as it was my first Asian Tour win and it was made even more special as I did it at home. This week, I’m just going to go out there and play my best,” said Tabuena.

Meanwhile compatriot Juvic Pagunsan returns to the Sentosa Golf Club ready to make up for his play-off loss at the 2011 edition.

“I really had the chance to win the Singapore Open then but didn’t complete the job. It’s nice to be back in Singapore again after such a long time and hopefully this time, I can do better,” said Pagunsan.

Although he was denied a place in the Singapore Open’s roll of honour, Pagunsan still managed to pick up one of his biggest career prize money wins and created history of his own by winning the coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit crown in 2011.

“Those were indeed great memories. But it’s also time to look forward and go on to do better all the time. My focus is on the SMBC Singapore Open and I’ll try my best to win the trophy this week,” said Pagunsan.

The SMBC Singapore Open will feature the top 60 players from the Asian Tour, top 60 from the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), leading Singapore professionals and amateurs and invites including players from the top 50 in the world.

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