SENTOSA, Singapore: 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.
66 players made the weekend cut which was set at one-over-par.
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.