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International Series Oman: Quiban, Tabuena match 71s, trail by 6

MANILA, Philippines – Justin Quiban and Miguel Tabuena carded identical 71s as they both struggled on the unpredictable greens of the Al Mouj Golf course, trailing six strokes behind an in-form David Puig after 18 holes of the International Series Oman in Muscat Thursday.

The Filipino pair each needed 32 putts with Quiban making a three-putt miscue on No. 4, leading to a flawed frontside 38. He, however, bounced back with a solid 33 in the last nine holes, salvaging a one-under card and hoping to ignite a strong second round performance but in a late start Friday.

Tabuena, avoiding a three-putt mishap, missed several birdie opportunities, finishing with a one-birdie 36-35 card he preserved with three scrambling pars.

They found themselves tied with 20 others at 37th place, too far behind Puig, who continued his stellar play from the Malaysian Open with a bogey-free 65, securing a one-stroke lead over Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, who fired a 66.

Mito Pereira, also of Chile, Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz, Kevin Yuan of Australia and American Manav Shah all posted 67s, creating a crowded leaderboard in the early stages of the $2 million event, the first of 10 International Series championships and the second leg of this year's Asian Tour.

Angelo Que also struggled on the Al Mouj surfaces, finishing with a 74, marked by a three-putt bogey on No. 8. The three-time Asian Tour winner also yielded a stroke on the first hole for a birdie-less 38-36 and fell to joint 91st, two strokes below the projected cutoff score.

Que faced difficulties reaching the green, going out of regulation six times despite a decent performance off the tee that had him missing only three fairways. He also wound up with 32 putts.

The ICTSI-backed Tabuena, who finished No. 2 in last year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit on the strength of his victory in New Delhi, hit 11 fairways and missed just three greens but struggled to convert putts.

Quiban also missed three fairways and hit all but two greens but like Tabuena, he settled for a number of regulation pars. Despite dropping two strokes on the first hole, he recovered with birdies in the next two.

He bogeyed Nos. 4 and 8 but birdied Nos. 12, 15 and 18, putting