January 2020 – Asian Tour

Kuchar shows mental toughness to win the SMBC Singapore Open


Sentosa, Singapore, January 19: American Matt Kuchar put up a inspirational performance that demonstrated his mental fortitude when he overcame a calamitous triple-bogey on the seventh hole by charging back with three birdies in his back-nine to win the SMBC Singapore Open on Sunday.

Despite a host of Asian Tour stars including defending champion and 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Jazz Janewattananond piling the pressure on him, Kuchar showed he has the resilience to bounce back on the day that matters most at the Serapong course, Sentosa Golf Club.

Holding a three-shot lead at the start of the day, Kuchar extended his lead to four with his first birdie on four. However, the American ran into trouble on the par-five seventh when his tee shot came up against the root of a tree and he missed the ball on his first attempt to punch it out from the trees.

The nightmare continued when his approach shot flew left of the green, hit a cart path and went out of bounds. After hitting his sixth shot onto the front of the green, Kuchar eventually managed to hole a crucial putt from 10-feet for a triple-bogey eight.

But Kuchar mounted his comeback in his back-nine with birdies on 11 and 16 as his closest rivals fell by the wayside. The galleries then roared in unison as he went on to sink a birdie putt from almost 20 feet to win the iconic Singapore event with a final round one-under-par 70.

Former world number one Justin Rose of England finished in second place after posting a four-day total of 15-under-par 269 while Jazz took outright third place with a closing 71 at the US$1 million event which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

Korean teenager Joohyung Kim signed for a 71 to take fourth place along with one of the four tickets to The Open at Royal St. George’s in July. The other three spots went to Canada’s Richard T. Lee, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Japan’s Ryosuke Kinoshita.

Ends.

SINGAPORE- L-R – Joohyung Kim of Korea, Poom Saksansin of Thailand, Richard T.Lee of Canada and Ryosuke Kinoshita of Japan Open Qualifiers pictured on Sunday January 19,2020, during the final round of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The USD$ 1 million event is co- sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, January 16-19, 2020. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Lagardére Sports.

Did you know?

  • With his victory, Matt Kuchar became the seventh American winner since the Singapore Open was inaugurated in 1961. The others are Shaun Micheel (1998) Kurt Cox (1980), Tom Sieckman (1984), Greg Bruckner (1988), Bill Israelson (1992), John Kernohan (1996).
  • Kuchar’s four-day total of 18-under-par 266 matched Jazz Janewattananond’s lowest winning score in 2019.
  • Jazz was seeking to be the second player after Australia’s Adam Scott to successfully retain the Singapore Open title.
  • In his last five starts on the Asian Tour, Jazz has posted three top-10s and two victories.
  • Kim won three times on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to earn his promotion to the Asian Tour in 2019. He went on to clinch the Panasonic Open India title in November last year.
  • Richard T. Lee is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won his maiden title at the Solaire Open in 2014 and claimed his second victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2017.
  • His last professional win came in April 2019 when he won The 15th DB Insurance Promy Open on the Korean PGA Tour.
  • Lee will be making his second Major appearance at The Open in July. He finished as runner-up at his qualifier to earn entry to the 2007 U.S. Open, becoming the second youngest golfer in the 107-year history of the tournament.
  • Poom’s Saksansin’s final round 65 was the day’s lowest score. His tied-sixth finish is his first top-10 since he won the Indonesian Masters in 2018.
  • Poom was making his third appearance at the SMBC Singapore Open this week. He has never missed the cut and his previous results were tied-24th in 2019 and tied-12th in 2018.

Ends.


Sentosa, Singapore, January 19: Major Champion and multiple Tour winner, Henrik Stenson, has been inspired by a global environmental campaign this week from SMBC Singapore Open host venue, Sentosa Golf Club.

The golfing superstar, who is playing in his second Singapore Open this week, caught up with the team at Sentosa Golf Club to discuss the role golf can play in stopping the effects of climate change and learn more about their latest environmental campaign, called GAME ON.

It’s an issue becoming ever more relevant for Stenson, who recently unveiled his own golf course design intentions with the opening of a new 18 hole course at Österåker Golf Club, north of Stockholm.

Of the eco-friendly measures he was introduced to by Andrew Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club, Stenson was particularly impressed by the club’s plans for a food and horticultural digester, which can grind down waste to be used as fertiliser on the golf courses.

Stenson said: “That’s unbelievable, super impressive. So, when you’re playing your shot and you take a divot who knows what might be in there!

“The water savings through the single head sprinkler system is also pretty neat. It’s a massive saving and something I will definitely consider in my future course designs. At my first course we’re already saving water by carefully monitoring the rough areas we grow up, but there’s potential for loads for more efficiency.”

GAME ON is designed to unite Sentosa with golf’s major stakeholders and the global golfing community to tackle the global threat of climate change.

It’s model that aims to educate and inspire the global golfing community, creating a more socially conscious industry and consumer, who will be better prepared to introduce modern sustainability practices that will reduce golf club’s environmental impact, as well as improving the quality of facilities on offer throughout the world.

The model, which will become available in March as a free downloadable toolkit from the Sentosa Golf Club website, has been developed by one of the world’s leading agronomists, Andrew Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club, who has more than 30 years of experience in golf operations. Johnston is also one of the leading figures in the golf industry when it comes to sustainability, helping Sentosa to become one of the most recognised eco-friendly golf facilities in the world through the measures he has implemented.

With over 61 million golfers and 39,000 golf courses worldwide, GAME ON will help the industry to unite and work together to reduce golf’s carbon footprints, making it one of the leading industries to help make a difference on climate change.

In recent years, Sentosa Golf Club has increased exposure for its own sustainable initiatives through the development of its #KeepItGreen campaign, which launched at the 2018 SMBC Singapore Open. Under its umbrella, which now includes GAME ON, the club continues to undertake wide-ranging actions to reduce its environmental footprint, both on and off the course.

Speaking about the launch of GAME ON this week at the SMBC Singapore Open, Andrew Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club, said “GAME ON will target the relevant issues that both golf and the world faces in its fight against climate change. Sentosa Golf Club is proud to be at the forefront of this campaign and hope to create a legacy with golf’s leading organisations and community that will have a huge bearing on our future. Being able to launch the GAME ON campaign at an event like the SMBC Singapore Open is crucial to allowing us to spread our message to a wider international audience and encourage change within the game of golf. We’ll also hope the GAME ON model will be supported by some of the game’s most influential stakeholders, and we look forward to working with them in the future to assist wherever we can.”

Stenson added: “Spending time at Sentosa Golf Club this week has definitely made me think more about the importance of sustainability in golf course design. Their campaign is certainly inspiring the world of golf to front up, take action, and play its part in stopping the very real threat of climate change. This sport should act now, and I’d say it’s very much game on for the golf industry.

“Some of the modern-day sustainable practices implemented here by Andrew and his team are mind blowing. I’m impressed with their willingness to share this knowledge through the campaign, educate and inspire others. Many of the measures are so simple, which I can take and utilise for my first golf course design, and the ones I have planned for the future.

“What the club is doing here deserves huge credit and praise. They are at the forefront of the golf industry and an example to us all with their green agenda. It’s amazing to see a golf club so dedicated and committed to making an impact on the world stage.”

The 2020 SMBC Singapore Open, which is at the halfway stage, is the one of the biggest tournaments on the Asian Tour schedule this year, with Stenson joined by the two other 2016 Rio Olympic medallists, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar, who are both two shots off the lead.  That lead is currently held by defending champion, Jazz Janewattananond, who has clearly been enjoying his time on Sentosa’s Serapong course once again this week.

Ends.



Sentosa, Singapore, January 18: Matt Kuchar of the United States showed his star power by signing for a nine-under-par 62 to take a three-shot lead into the final round of the SMBC Singapore Open on Saturday.

Kuchar’s third round superlatives would have been the course record if not for the preferred lies ruling in play at the Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club where the US$1 million event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), is being held this week.

Kuchar, the 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist and a nine-time winner on the PGA TOUR, kept the galleries enthralled from start to finish with four birdies in his front-nine, followed by another five in his inward-nine for a three-day total of 17-under-par 196.

Defending champion Jazz Janewattananond returned with a 67 to share second place with Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena, who posted a 66 to remain on course to surpass his previous best finish of tied-fourth at the 2016 edition of the Singapore Open.

Korean teen sensation Joohyung Kim remained steady under pressure as he sunk a 15-footer to save par on the last hole to keep himself in contention for his second Asian Tour title.

The 17-year-old’s third round 67 meant he will start his final round four shots back of Kuchar in a share of fourth place with Canada’s Richard T. Lee, who posted a 65 for a 200 total.

SINGAPORE- Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines pictured Saturday January 18,2020, during round three of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The USD$ 1 million event is co- sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, January 16-19, 2020. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Lagardére Sports.

Did you know?

  • Matt Kuchar is an Olympics bronze medalist. Apart from the gold (Justin Rose) and silver (Henrik Stenson) medalist also in the field, there are seven other Olympians who teed up at this week’s SMBC Singapore Open.
  • They include Danny Chia (Mal), Siddikur Rahman (Ban), Marcus Fraser (Aus), Miguel Tabuena (Phi), S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind), Adilson da Silva (Bra) and Yuta Ikeda (Jpn).
  • There have been six American winners since the Singapore Open was inaugurated in 1961. They are Shaun Micheel (1998) Kurt Cox (1980), Tom Sieckman (1984), Greg Bruckner (1988), Bill Israelson (1992), John Kernohan (1996).
  • In his third round, Kuchar made a total of 25 putts, missed three fairways and three greens.
  • The course record at the Serapong course is eight-under-par 63 where three players – Younghan Song (2016), George Coetzee (2012) and Angel Cabrera (2007) hold.
  • Miguel Tabuena’s best finish at the Singapore Open was in 2016 when he finished tied-fourth.
  • Tabuena enjoyed another bogey-free round. He has not dropped a shot in his last two rounds.
  • Jazz Janewattananond is seeking to be the second player in the history books of the Singapore Open to successfully defend his title.
  • Australia’s Adam Scott retained the Singapore Open title in 2005 and 2006.
  • While growing up in Australia, Joohyung Kim was looking around for a suitable first name and he chose Tom as he was a fan of the Thomas the Tank Engine television series.
  • Kim won three times on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to earn his promotion to the Asian Tour in 2019. He went on to clinch the Panasonic Open India title in November last year,
  • He is a two-time Asian Tour winner with his last victory coming at the Queen’s Cup in 2018.
  • Richard T. Lee is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won his maiden title at the Solaire Open in 2014 and claimed his second victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2017.
  • The 28-year-old Lee capped three top-10 finishes in 2019 to finish 33rd on the Order of Merit and retain his playing rights for the 2020 season.
  • His last professional win came in April 2019 when he won The 15th DB Insurance Promy Open on the Korean PGA Tour.
  • Lee enjoyed his career-best finish on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2015 where he finished in seventh place.

Ends.


Matt Kuchar (Usa) – Third round 62 (-9) Total 196 (-17)
It was a great day. I had a good time as I got off to a great start with birdies in the first 2 holes. Continued to play some good steady golf, took advantage of the par fives again and it was a great day. That was a great way to start, back to back birdies, kind of tied for the lead there and just kept playing some good golf, it was fun. The whole group played really good golf; it was a fun day out. I really enjoyed being able to share the medal. Being an Olympic medalist, being able to bring around and share it with people. It’s been a real source of pride and something I really enjoy being – an Olympic medalist.

Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand 

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – Third round 67 (-4), Total 199 (-14)
I’m happy with the back-nine for sure. A very slow start today as nothing was really going my way in my front-nine, but I am still happy with four-under. It would be great (successfully defend title), but Kuchar’s in for it right now and I see his score and it will be fun tomorrow. Let’s see if I can perform my best tomorrow. I am really excited to play with Matt. Last year I was up against many world class players and I win this event. This year, he’s (Matt) world class too. It will be interesting to see how he does too.

Miguel Tabeuna (Phi) – Third round 66 (-5) Total 199 (-14)
It was pretty solid, I mean I’ve been hitting the ball great which helps. You know when whenever I don’t play my best round or good round, it’s because I cannot hit a good shot off the tee, which my problem. The biggest problem, every time. I worked a bit last week on the range and I found something and I’m sticking to it. I’ve been here before. I’m expecting the nerves to be there and I welcome it. You know when you’re playing with nerves that means you are doing the right thing.

Joohyung Kim (Kor) – Third round 67 (-4), Total 200 (-13)
That last putt was very important indeed. Just hit one bad drive the whole day I think. Came at the wrong time but that putt to save par on the last definitely gives me the momentum for tomorrow. To not finish with a bogey on a par-five and saving that crucial par putt definitely gives me the energy to even play even better tomorrow. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, obviously. I think anyone in the top-six right now can win the tournament, so I don’t want to really get too hard on myself tomorrow. I will just stick to my game plan and hopefully it goes my way. There will be a lot of pressure thinking about The Open spots. I have to not think about that and just stick to shot by shot. I know if I can execute the way I did today, I can take care of these things. I would be lying if I say I’m not thinking about it (pressure). It’s always going to be at the back of your mind but you have to try not to think about it and stick to your game plan. Just trust your team and keep going.

Richard T.Lee of Canada

Richard T. Lee (Can) – Third round 65 (-6), Total 200 (-13)
I just had a weird feeling today. I was pretty focused out there, but in a way I wasn’t focused, I don’t know. I was pretty zoned out but I made a lot of good putts out there and my shots were pretty solid today to make seven birdies and one bogey. It’s pretty good playing. It was definitely nice playing with Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar today. I wasn’t really trying to outplay them. I didn’t really notice them too much. I was more worried about myself, you know from shot to shot. I felt like I was sending my shots pretty solid and making lots of the putts. I am not really thinking about The Open spots for now. If I make it, I make it. I am just trying to play well and do my best to get that title instead. I mean I’m not really thinking about I’m just trying to play well and try to get that title instead.



Sentosa, Singapore, January 17: Defending champion Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand made a spirited charge up the leaderboard by carding a second round six-under-par 65 to head into the weekend in pole position at the SMBC Singapore Open on Friday.

Jazz, who started his round two shots off the pace, did not get off to the best of starts as he bogeyed the second hole. But he quickly found his rhythm with three birdies on holes four, eight and nine.

The 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion then raced towards the summit with another four birdies in his back-nine for a two-day total of 10-under-par 132 at the Serapong course, Sentosa Golf Club.

Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena matched Jazz’s efforts when he also returned with a 65 to share second place with Korean teen sensation Joohyung Kim, who signed for a 66 at the US$1 million event which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

American Matt Kuchar and former world number one Justin Rose of England also underlined their star credentials when they posted a 68 and 66 respectively to share fourth place.

Canada’s Richard T. Lee, a two-time Asian Tour winner, slipped to sixth place (69), having started the round in tied for second while Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul returned with a 70 to stay four shots back of Jazz together with Japan’s Tomoharu Otsuki and India’s Rashid Khan in a share of seventh place.

SINGAPORE-Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines pictured Thursday January 17,2020, during round two of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The USD$ 1 million event is co- sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, January 16-19, 2020. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Lagardére Sports.

Did you know?

  • Jazz Janewattananond is seeking to be the second player in the history books of the Singapore Open to successfully defend his title.
  • Australia’s Adam Scott retained the Singapore Open title in 2005 and 2006.
  • Apart from winning the coveted 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit title, Jazz was also voted as the Players’ Player of the Year.
  • He topped the statistics categories for Lowest Stroke Average with his record of 68.28 strokes and Total Birdies made with 265 from a total of 15 tournaments throughout his season on the Asian Tour.
  • Joohyung Kim has played in only six Asian Tour events since the start of the 2019 season, with one win and two other top-six finishes.
  • He is the youngest player in the field this week. At 17, he announced his arrival on the world stage with his maiden Asian Tour win at the Panasonic Open India last year.
  • Kim earned a battlefield promotion from the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to the Asian Tour by winning three ADT events in the same season: the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka, the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament presented by Panasonic and the Raya Pakistan Open in 2019.
  • Miguel Tabuena’s best finish at the Singapore Open was in 2016 when he finished tied-fourth.
  • He is a two-time Asian Tour winner with his last victory coming at the Queen’s Cup in 2018.
  • Matt Kuchar two biggest victories came at the 2012 Players Championship and the 2013 WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship.
  • He has also played on four American Ryder Cup teams (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and five Presidents Cup teams (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019).
  • Gunn recorded his lowest round at the Singapore Open during the third round last year. He carded a 67.
  • He is making his fifth appearance at the Singapore Open with his best result coming last year when he finished tied for seventh.
  • Tomoharu Otsuki earned his Asian Tour card when he finished in sixth place at Qualifying School last year.
  • He won his first professional title at the Kansai Open Golf Championship on the Japan Golf Tour last year.
  • Having lost his card in 2018, Rashid Khan’s tied-second place finish at the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship last year virtually his playing rights for the 2020 season.
  • Khan won twice on the Asian Tour in 2014, the Chiangmai Golf Classic and the SAIL-SBI Open, on his way to a career best 11th on the Order of Merit with US$243,600 in earnings.

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) Second round 65 (-6) Total 132 (-10)
It makes me really happy to be back here to play in the course that I won in a year ago.
There are still two more days and anything can happen. There are a lot of good players here. Kuchar and Rose are still within reach and I will just stick to my plan and hopefully will take a win for the weekend.

Everyone will be bringing their A game into the weekend. You just got to try and bring yours too and do what you have to do. Today I struggled at the start, was a bit shaky but I found the groove after and managed to get it done quite right. I just try to hit it better than this over the weekend. I mean, yesterday I hit better than this.

Today I putted better so I’ll try to combine it. It’s a bit hotter today than yesterday but I did get used to it because I’m Thai and it’s great. The pin and the green will get tougher for sure but I’m not sure about the wind.

Joohyung Kim (Kor) Second round 66 (-5), Total 133 (-9)
It’s great. I’ve played really solid golf in the past two days. Luckily, we didn’t have rain and we didn’t have that much wind in the afternoon so it’s pretty easy to take advantage of the holes. I stuck to my game plan really well. I feel like I played really solid defenses.

I think I hit it really well, I got up and down really well as well. There are some holes where it got a bit tricky but I was able to get up and down from there. I think I just gave myself a lot of opportunities out there.

There are some holes that I couldn’t really take opportunities of but I still finished really solid. The crowds have been amazing so far this week. The SMBC Singapore Open is one of the biggest events we play all year.

It’s also The Open Qualifier this week so it’s really nice to be here. I will stick to the game plan and just try and hit fairways and greens. Hopefully I can keep hitting it solid and keep giving myself a chance.

I’m not sure if I will feel nervous tomorrow. I think I have to wake up tomorrow and see how I feel. But I’m just really glad that I’m giving myself an opportunity to play in the weekend. I’ve played really solid so far so just hope to keep it up. Okay. I was very fortunate to win in India last year to give me chances to play in big events like this week. I have worked really hard and just to get step by step to where I am now.

I’ve always believed that I was able to do it but I just didn’t know when. I didn’t know it will all happen that fast last year. But the expectations that I have in my team has are very high, but we’re just trying to take it step by step. I don’t feel any pressure coming into this week but obviously, there is something on the line and every player is playing for it.

But I’m just trying to not get ahead of myself and we’re just trying to take a step by step. I had love playing golf ever since I was young, so to be honest, I am having more fun playing as a professional now. Just because you get to travel and getting to see players like Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

I was just watching these guys on TV a couple of years ago. To be in the same field this week is very honoring. I hope to qualify for The Open. It will be my Major debut. I will try to get myself into the PGA Tour as well and try to break top-100 on the Official World Golf Ranking. These are my goals so if I can achieve that, it will be great.

Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines

Miguel Tabuena (Phi) Second round 65 (-6) Total 133 (-9)
I played really solid, I can’t complain. I missed where I had to miss if I was out of position and I made some great putts out there. Hopefully it stays like that the next two days. It would have been a bit better if they did The Open qualifying series when I finished fourth.

I still can’t complain, that was my best year here so far in 2016. Hopefully, this year will be even better. I guess if I win the Singapore Open it’ll take care of itself right (qualifying for The Open). I’m here to win, and I’m just going to go out there and play the way I’ve been playing. I have more of an idea now where the pins will be the last two days and not a lot of people are used to the speed of the greens. And luckily it didn’t rain today so I can get a bit of a rest tonight, which will be a big help the next two days.

Matt Kuchar (Usa) Second round 68 (-3) Total 134 (-8)
It was quite breezy this morning and there were some difficult holes out there. I am glad that it was another good round today and I am in a good position for the weekend. Today I had a good number of putts go in as well, I think it was a good two days. Hoping to take advantage of the par fives.

It is going to be tough on team USA to get into the qualifying round but I certainly would like to qualify for it. I had such a good experience in Rio, and I would love to be back in Japan. I know that golf is going to be so well received there. I know it is going to be a great event.

Hope to play well for the rest of the year and make the team. You never know what the weather is going to do, just how the course is going to play. I try to play each hole to the best of my ability and take it as it comes.

Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand

Gunn Charoenkul (Tha) Second round 70 (-1) Total 136 (-6)
When you’re on the roll, you kind of forget the basics and that’s what happened on those three holes where I got a bogey double and then a bogey again. Overall, it was a rollercoaster round and I was fine until that hole and it got me mentally drained. I was lucky enough to hit the close on nine and finishing the par for today.

But I think that all that matters right now is I’m still in contention and I am very happy. I think I have done really well the past two days. Really have to go back to basics. I have to go back and practice a little on the range and see how it goes and hopefully it will help with the next few days.

I think the past few nights, I been watching too much golf. I think I’m just going to take a break from that and I’m going to try and relax and find something to entertain myself.

Rashid Khan (Ind) Second round 66 (-5), Total 136 (-6)
This is by far one of my best rounds on this golf course. I’ve played here many times but haven’t been able to score well. Maybe it was because of my iron shots here in the past but now, I’m very confident of hitting it onto the greens. I also enjoy holing those long birdie putts.

I’m really enjoying myself here and giving myself chances this week. I got a good result in Hong Kong last week and that gave me lots of confidence, especially with my putting on the greens. They were also very fast, just that they are bigger here and it’s tough to hit it close. So you got to be spot on with your approach shots.



Sentosa, Singapore, January 16: Thailand’s Kosuke Hamamoto showed he can be the man for the big occasion when he signed for an opening six-under-par 65 to take the first round  lead at the SMBC Singapore Open on Thursday.

Despite playing at the US$1 million Singapore showpiece for the first time, the 20-year-old  displayed maturity beyond his years as he outplayed several of the tournament’s marquee names that include former world number one Justin Rose of England, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, American Matt Kuchar and 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand.

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul showed his consistency yet again by signing for a 66 to trail Hamamoto by one shot in a share of second place that included Canada’s Richard T. Lee, Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino and American Matt Kuchar, who managed to complete his round in near darkness.

17-year-old Joohyung Kim of Korea, who is the youngest player in the field and making his SMBC Singapore Open debut, continued to show his potential as he posted a 67 to end his day in tied-sixth place alongside Korea’s Inhoi Hur and Jazz.

Jazz started his title defence with a promising 67 while Rose and Stenson are a further shot back from the defending champion in tied-ninth place after returning with matching 68s.

SINGAPORE-Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand pictured Thursday January 16,2020, during round one of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The USD$ 1 million event is co- sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, January 16-19, 2020. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Lagardére Sports.

Did you know?

  • Kosuke Hamamoto, whose father is Japanese and mother is Thai, is making his first appearance at the SMBC Singapore Open this week.
  • The 20-year-old Thai, who turned professional last year, started playing golf at the age of eight. He is a former Thai Amateur star, South East Asia (SEA) Games individual gold medalist and was part of the first Thai team to win the Nomura Cup in Malaysia in 2017.
  • He was also part of Team Thailand that finished second in the Team event at the SEA Games in 2017.
  • Kosuke enjoyed a solid rookie season on the Asian Tour in 2019. He came in runner-up in Chinese Taipei last September to virtually seal his card for the 2020 season. He eventually finished in 31st place on the Order of Merit, thanks to two top-10s.
  • Richard T. Lee is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won his maiden title at the Solaire Open in 2014 and claimed his second victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2017.
  • The 28-year-old Lee capped three top-10 finishes in 2019 to finish 33rd on the Order of Merit and retain his playing rights for the 2020 season.
  • His last professional win came in April 2019 when he won The 15th DB Insurance Promy Open on the Korean PGA Tour.
  • Lee enjoyed his career-best finish on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2015 where he finished in seventh place.
  • Lee finished as runner-up at his qualifier to earn entry to the 2007 U.S. Open, becoming the second youngest golfer in the 107-year history of the tournament. However, he did not finish the tournament as he injured his wrist in the second round. He finished at 20-over and turned professional when the tournament concluded.
  • Since the start of the 2019 season, Gunn Charoenkul has posted 20 top-10 finishes across all Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) events on various Tours worldwide.
  • His best finishes on the Asian Tour have been two runners-up. In addition to finishing second in Jakarta last December he also did so at the 2016 Queen’s Cup.
  • Joohyung Kim is the youngest player in the field this week. At 17, he announced his arrival on the world stage with his maiden Asian Tour win at the Panasonic Open India last year.
  • Kim earned a battlefield promotion from the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to the Asian Tour by winning three ADT events in the same season: the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka, the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament presented by Panasonic and the Raya Pakistan Open in 2019.

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