Sentosa, Singapore, January 16: Read what players have to say following the opening round of the SMBC Singapore Open on Thursday.
Kosuke Hamamoto (Tha) First round 65 (-6)
To be honest, I’m just really happy to be playing in this prestigious event. I just came into the week with the mindset that I should be grateful and thankful for this opportunity to play at the SMBC Singapore Open. I just went out there to have fun and tried not to put too much pressure on myself. I’ve been trying to work as hard as possible after graduating from Qualifying School and the results are finally beginning to show. You need to believe in yourself that you can perform and luckily I managed to do it today. This is one of the best golf courses I’ve ever played in Asia and it required you to play smartly and hit good shots where you can be rewarded if you are able to do so.
Gunn Charoenkul (Tha) – First round 66 (-5)
I have been playing very conservatively today, I didn’t go for any Par-fives today, and told my caddie today there’s no point going for it in two today, it’s just the first day of the tournament.
Today I have been putting very well, there were some speed problem during mid round after the rain delay, but managed to keep a safe par and saved my bogey on 15 as well, so that kept my momentum going, and then managed to bounce back on 16th and 17th for birdie as well.
I couldn’t take the lead but I’m very happy with my round today. To be honest, there have been so many people that were sharing with me and asking like how have you played and you have been very close so far and I’ve been even starting to dream about winning tournaments.
I think that’s my inner desire probably! But I will try to put it at the back of my head, concentrate on the game and see how I play the next three days. This one is going to The Open and it will be great to be back there again because I really love playing the links course even though last year was my first time, playing in the real winners’ stuff and will be great to take all my family there and enjoy a Major.
Henrik Stenson (Sweden) – First round 68 (-3)
Yeah it was good. The first round of the year, I am pretty pleased with the way I played. A good start with birdies on my first two holes, 10 and 11, and shot three under.
I would not say I played the best round of my career but it was certainly the best round of the year so far (it was his first). I think my putting was on today, I made some really good putts, some for birdies and some for par saves.
I hit a few iron shots really close and gave myself some easy birdies but at the same time there were a few approach shots that were not very good and I had to work hard to make the par so I need to be a little bit better with my irons tomorrow.
The course is in great condition. The greens are rolling really well, they are quick which makes them really hard at times if you are in the wrong place. You get some really slick and quick putts.
I was happy to start off the year and get going again. It is always on the wish list to hope you are going to do better the next day but golf is an outdoor sport. We do not know it may blow three times as hard and 71 may be a great score tomorrow. You do not know what is coming. So we will take one day at a time and I can only try to play my best round every day and we will add it all up come Sunday.
Justin Rose (England) – First round 68 (-3)
A good score. My game was not exactly great. I did not hit many good shots today but I think I managed my game very well. I was never in a lot of trouble so even though I was not playing well I always managed to be in decent positions – managing the bad shots, I guess.
Very happy to make some birdies on the back nine and shoot three under. I think three under is a good start.
There is a lot I have to work on. The best part of my game today was managing the golf course. This golf course is a course when you need to be in position – if you miss on the wrong side it is very difficult to get the ball up and down because the greens are so fast.
I could have played the par fives better. I hit good tee shots but then I messed up the par fives from there, number 18, number 7. I had really good opportunities. Those are the only parts of my round that I think I could have done better. The rest of it, I actually did a pretty good job to hang in there.
Ryo Ishikawa played really good today. Obviously he shot two under which is a good solid start. He played very aggressively – he hit a lot of drivers. Especially on the front nine I was impressed by how well he hit the driver. He always looks good. He has a very graceful, cool looking swing. He has got a lot of style. He always looks good with a putter in his hand. He is a lovely guy so I enjoyed my day with him.
I am excited about tomorrow. I think every day hopefully I can get a little bit more comfortable with my game. This is the first round of 2020 for me. It is good to get it in the 60s so hopefully it is something I can build on. I feel like I can make more putts and I feel I can hit the ball a little bit better. So I am excited about trying to get better each day.
Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) – First round 69 (-2)
My round was not bad, considering the difficult setup of the course. I think that if I can continue doing what I did today I’ll find myself in a good position.
My putting was okay, but I left myself a lot of long putts so I need to work on my iron game.
I need to hit it closer to the pin and I think it is something that I’ll have to keep working on throughout the year.
It was a lot of fun playing with Justin (Rose). He is such a gentleman and it was a pleasure playing with him.
He always plays flawless golf but I could see he was getting a little frustrated on the par 5s. Even the very best players get frustrated.
He plays a very different game from mine and there are parts that I envy, but I am here to compete. Rather than trying to learn from him, I want to compete with my own game.
Tomorrow will be another important round so I’ll look to play with a fresh mindset, and hopefully I can go into the final rounds in a good position.
Joohyung Kim (Kor) First round 67 (-4)
It was great. The wind really picked up in the morning, I was just trying to put some good scores in the morning, and unfortunately you won’t be able to do that in the morning. It is a hard course itself but it became even harder when the wind had picked up. The game plan went pretty well, I made a few putts and was able to score. I have been playing quite consistently. I am very fortunate as well to be able to play consistently but obviously it’s my first season so I am just trying to learn every single week. I am trying to hit a lot of fairways and greens, I think that is very important here. I am trying to find the good spots I missed and hopefully make some putts like today. I love Singapore. I have been here a couple of times but this is my first time here for a tournament, and so far it has been great.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) First round 67 (-4)
The score is not bad although I left a bit out there. It’s still the first round, so there’s no need to go too serious about this now. It’s still a good score so I’m pretty happy with it. There were some pins out there where I remembered where I hit it last year. So it’s good, especially with these fond memories. It has been pretty good playing with Justin Rose and Ryo Ishikawa today. We started pretty slowly but once we got it going, everyone kind of fed off each other. I don’t know how the wind is going to be tomorrow. It was pretty windy today, so we’ll play according to the wind.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) First round 68 (-3)
I’m pretty disappointed with my two bogeys. I was right in front of the wind and I just hit horribly. But it’s okay, I’ve a good track record here and I’ve never finished outside the top 15 ever in this tournament. It can be tight on the tee if you start to spray it but if you’re a bit better and can see the line, the greens are pretty clear so we have some great chances going in.
I missed qualifying for The Open by one shot for two years in a row. So hopefully it goes my way this time.