Hurting Miguel Tabuena drops to a share of 54th place

RIO DE JANEIRO – Miguel Tabuena tried to ignore the pain on his right shoulder Friday but could only score a four-over-par 75 as he dropped to a share of 54th place after 36 holes of play in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 21-year-old Tabuena, tied for 42nd after the first round, complained of a hurting shoulder. He said he started feeling the pain Thursday but hoped it would get better. It got worse during the second round, saying it hurts most on his finish.

The injury bothered Tabuena during the entire round which started with a morning drizzle and ended with a flash of sunlight in the afternoon. With his opening-round 73, he now has a 148 total, tied with three others at 54th among 60 entries.

Marcus Fraser of Australia held on to the lead, hitting a 69 after a 63 for a 132 total, just a stroke ahead of Thomas Pieters of Belgium (67-66) and two up on reigning French Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden (66-68).

Six players, including Justin Rose of Great Britain, are within five strokes behind the leader, making the final two rounds of the competition at the brand new Olympic Golf Course as exciting as any of the five Majors.

Tabuena tried his best under the circumstance.

“If this wasn’t the Olympics and if I didn’t have this flag on my shirt, I would have pulled out already. But we have two more days and anything can happen,” said the reigning Philippine Open champion, hoping to get better in the last two days.

From the course, Tabuena went straight to the Athletes Village where Martin Camara, a noted chiropractor in the Philippines, checked on his shoulder. A Brazilian chiropractor also came by to help assess the injury.

Late in the afternoon, Tabuena was seen watching the closing holes of the second round on television, at the Philippine quarters, with athletic (kinesiology) tape on his right shoulder. He was asked how his shoulder felt.

“I’m okay now but not a hundred percent yet. I hope it gets better in the morning,” said Tabuena, looking forward to his 7:41 a.m. flight with Yuta Ikeda of Japan (74-69-143) and Kakko Roope of Finland (72-76-148).

Camara, who helps oversee the condition of the Filipino athletes here, said he worked on Tabuena’s shoulder injury, something “that was coming from the neck area and needed a simple realignment of the muscles.”

“I played with what I had. Actually I am feeling a bit of pain on my right shoulder now. It started Thursday morning when I woke up. It’s not a really, really painful pain, but it’s something that I think about,” said Tabuena.

“It’s bad enough to get me thinking about that instead of my golf. This is the first time I felt this. I’ve had a wrist injury, back pains but I never had pain on my right shoulder. It’s a funny feeling. It hurts in the follow through and finish,” he said.

Tabuena started off with a bogey, parred the next two holes, and had another bogey on the fourth to slide down to four-over for the tournament. He birdied the fifth and eighth holes, sandwiching a double-bogey on the seventh.

It was raining, cold when Tabuena started his round.

“It was a pretty long hole,” he said of No. 7, a 493-yard par-4.

“I had a 5-wood on my second shot and my club slipped out of my hands because it was raining and my ball carried in the bunker — plugged ball, which means it’s a really bad lie and I hit it over the green, then I chipped it short and made the six,” said Tabuena.

He couldn’t hit a birdie the rest of the way and added two more bogeys on the 12th and 13th, a pair of par-fours. In all, Tabuena had two birdies, a double-bogey and four bogeys on the day that ended with him 16 shots off the leader.

Tabuena is not giving up yet.

“Hopefully I go out with my guns blazing tomorrow. That’s the only chance we can get a medal here. I am pretty far down but I have shot very low before and I don’t see why I can’t do it again,” said the lone Filipino golfer here.

“I’m trying to enjoy. It’s all part of the experience. And I wanted for everyone to know that I am not giving up until the last day,” he said.