18 January 2020: 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. Rashid Khan continued his steadfast run of consistency with a battling 69 in the third round.
The Indian suffered a mid-round collapse, conceding three bogeys in four holes from the ninth. But he bounced back with some late birdies to finish two-under for the round and 8-under through 54 holes. On Saturday, Rashid made six birdies, three on either side to remain inside the top ten.
At 1-under, SSP Chawrasia is in T36, just one stroke ahead of Rahil Gangjee. Khalin Joshi is two-over and Shiv Kapur’s third round 74 dropped him to four-over.
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.
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.