24 year old Tabuena, out in the first group of the morning from the 10th tee, birdied nine of his first ten holes and at that point appeared very much on track to break 60 but the almost unbelievable momentum slowed and two late bogeys would see him sign for his round of 65.
Although perhaps disappointed it was nonetheless a brilliant start for the man playing the event via his Asian Tour status where he has won on two occasions.
“I just got ahead of myself the last few holes,” said Tabuena following his round. “I tried to keep (the score) in the back of my mind but it caught up to me on the third and fourth holes.
“I’m not going to lie, I started to force shots that I wasn’t comfortable with. I started to go at pins that I shouldn’t have and the bogey on the par-3 cost me.”
Just over an hour later he was joined by Norway’s Kristoffer Reitan who is playing in just his 5th event as a European Tour cardholder and having missed the cut in three of his first four this is a welcome display of his true capabilities.
Just twenty years of age, Reitan has yet to win on any tour but having only just secured his European Tour card when finishing last of the qualifiers at the Tour School in November this will provide a boost of confidence for the man from Oslo who has been a professional for just one year.
“It's pretty good, yeah, I'm enjoying it,” said Reitan when asked how he was enjoying his rookie European Tour season. “I'm just trying to learn every week.
“Even if I play really bad, I'm trying to learn something, and if I play well, it might be because I've learned something. So I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from every tournament and try to unlock my best golf."
Leaving nothing out thereFebruary 14, 2019
Last week’s runner-up at the Vic Open, Brad Kennedy, threatened the lead for much of the afternoon, getting within one of the lead through ten holes but two late bogeys would see him finish three behind and in a share of 5th place.
Tied for 2nd place and two from the lead are New Zealander Ben Campbell, who often seems to find form at this time of the year and after missed cuts in three of his last four starts seems to be peaking ahead of events in his homeland, and England’s Richard McEvoy.
A large group of seven are three from the lead namely Kennedy and his fellow Australian Nick Flanagan, New Zealanders Ryan Fox and Gareth Paddison, Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, Sweden’s Anton Karlsson and India’s SSP Chawrasia.
The field will be reduced to the leading 65 and ties through 36 holes tomorrow followed by a cut to the leading 24 on Sunday.
Sunday’s play involves a series of six hole knockout match play events to decide the winner.
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