SINGAPORE — Little-known South Korean golfer Ok Tae-hoon grabbed a share of the first-round lead at the SMBC Singapore Open on Thursday (20 January), after he sensationally eagled the two par-five holes on the front nine of the tough Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.
Together with three birdies and two bogeys, Ok carded a five-under-par 66 to share the top of the leaderboard with Thailand's Suradit Yongcharoenchai at the US$1.25 million (S$1.7 million) event, the final Asian Tour tournament of the season.
The duo are one stroke ahead of a chasing trio of South Korean Kim Si-hwan, Thailand's Sadom Kaewkaniana and Justin de los Santos from the Philippines. Another group of six golfers - including Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kim Joo-hyung, Thai wonderkid Ratchanon Chantananuwat and Singapore's Jesse Yap - lie a further stroke behind
Play was abandoned for the day at 5.51pm due to inclement weather, with 52 players due to resume their opening rounds at 7.30am on Friday.
Ok hit a rescue to 20 feet for his eagle on Hole 4, and on the par-five Hole 7, he nailed a three wood to 15 feet and holed out. It was a dramatic turnaround from his showing at last week's The Singapore International, where he missed the cut.
“The last tournament didn’t go too well so I was feeling a bit anxious,” the 23-year-old said. “But after last week I’ve been practicing a lot, so think I’ve improved and think I have figured things out.”
Suradit, who was bogey-free for the round, had a chance to take the outright lead but missed an eagle putt on the par-five 18th from 15 feet.
“Really happy today,” he said. “I played good, putting was okay, I made tee shots that were very good today but some second shots on par threes were not so good. It’s okay.”
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