Miguel Tabuena hopes to make the most of an early start as he plays with fellow former Philippine Open winner Berry Henson and Shiv Kapur of India while Tony Lascuna drew Korean Sungho Lee and David Langley of England at the start of the $1-million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship in Thailand Thursday.
Justin Quiban, the other Filipino in the Asian Tour restart after a 20-month hiatus due to pandemic, is paired with Thais Chanachok Dejpiratanamongkol and Sarun Sirithon.
The two-time Philippine Open champion Tabuena, who spent the last six months training in the United States, brims with confidence but wary of the Canyon course’s challenges as well as the threats pose by the equally hungry bunch of rivals.
The ICTSI-backed Tabuena, 2011 Phl Open titlist Henson and three-time Asian Tour winner Kapur, tee off at 6:55 a.m. on No. 10 of the par-72 layout in Phuket.
The course measures 7,257 yards from the tip, including the 600-yard par-5 No. 11 and all but one of the par-3s that stretch to over 200 yards.
Lascuna also starts at the backside at 8:15 a.m. with Lee and Langley, while Quiban, his confidence boosted by a recent stint in a PGA Tour event, and his Thai counterparts start at 11:15 a.m.
Former Order of Merit winners Scott Hend of Australia (2016), Malaysian Gavin Green (2018) and local ace Jazz Janewattananond (2019) head the full-packed 144-player cast that also features multi-titled John Catlin of the US, India’s Gaganjeet Bhular and local aces Prom Meesawat. Prayad Marksaeng, Thaworn Wiratchant. Chapchai Nirat and Boonchu Ruangkit.
Janewattananond, Green and Hend tee off at 7:15 a.m.
Micah Shin of the US and Korean Kim Joo Hyung, who honed their skills and talent on the PGT, are also expected to crowd the big guns for top honors, along with Aussie David Gleeson, Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, Malaysian Nicholas Fung, Mathiam Keyser of Dubai and Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva.
The Laguna Phuket Championship, meanwhile, will be played 2 to 5 December at the Laguna Golf Phuket course.
In January, the Tour is planning to stage two more tournaments in Singapore over consecutive weeks.