January 20: Unheralded Seungsu Han of the United States upstaged the tournament marquee names by carding a second round four-under-par 67 to grab the second round clubhouse lead at the SMBC Singapore Open on Friday. Gaganjeet Bhullar stayed consistent, adding a 69 to his first round score of 68. He is lying in tied sixth, five strokes behind the leader.
“I hit the ball really well. I think I played better than I did yesterday. I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I didn’t make too many mistakes. Overall, it was a good and smooth round. I hit a lot of greens in regulation,” explained Bhullar.
“The golf course demands good tee shots and good iron-play and a lot of good putts. I think patience is going to play a very important role this week. Apart from that, I am very much looking forward to playing in the weekend rounds.”
Han, who is chasing his first professional win at the US$1 million Singapore showpiece, surprised even himself when he compiled a two-day total of nine-under-par 133 to give himself a two-shot advantage over Australia’s Adam Scott and Malaysia’s Gavin Green, who was at seven-under through 15 holes before play was suspended due to fading light at 7.21pm.
Scott continues to remain in contention for a record fourth Singapore Open title after he signed for a 67. The Australian, who had the huge galleries following him at the Sentosa Golf Club, returned early at 7.30am to complete his remaining three holes from his first round before heading back out to mix his card with five birdies and one bogey for a 135 total.
Scott’s title ambitions will be put to test by a fast-charging Angelo Que of the Philippines, who stormed up the leaderboard with a 69 to share fourth place with Singapore’s Quincy Quek as the iconic Singapore showpiece heads into the weekend rounds.
Quek can expect the local crowd to cheer him on as he continues his amazing run on home soil, firing three birdies in his closing four holes to sign for a 68.
Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert, who has made great strides in his career since he first teed up in the Lion City, returned with a 71 to stay in touch with the leaders in tied-sixth place that also features India’s Gagnjeet Bhullar and defending champion Younghan Song of Korea.
Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung finally made the cut in his fifth attempt at the US$1 million event that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
Interesting facts of the day:
- Han holds a black belt in taekwondo and did speed skating when he was young. He moved to the United States when he was 12.
- Han came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2010 but did not keep his card.
- Que’s best result at the Singapore Open came in 2011 where he finished tied-19th.
- Pavit last played in the Singapore Open 10 years ago. It was his first professional tournament outside of Thailand and he got through the Monday qualifier.
- Fung made the halfway cut for the first time in his fifth attempt at the Singapore Open.
- At 17, Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand is the youngest player to make the cut at the SMBC Singapore Open this week.
- 26 players will continue return to continue their second round at 7.30am on Saturday.
“It obviously feels good. I am a bit surprised because I took some time off in December after my season last year so I wasn’t really expecting anything coming here,” said Seungsu Han. “I just want to play and see where it gets me. It feels good to be playing well.
“I played web.com tour right after college in 2009 and I came back to play in Asia. I played in Japan, China, Canada and I was all over the place. I took a few years off and went back to play in Japan again.”
Rahil Gangjee, Chiragh Kumar and Jeev Milkha Singh missed the cut. The knife dropped at two over 144. Shiv Kapur was one over through 17 holes of the second round, just above the cut line.