SMBC Singapore Open: Sihwan Kim soars on 7 birdies for 3-shot lead

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Sihwan Kim of the United States in action in the second round of the SMBC Singapore Open. (PHOTO: Tharm Sook Wai/SPORTFIVE)
Sihwan Kim of the United States in action in the second round of the SMBC Singapore Open. (PHOTO: Tharm Sook Wai/SPORTFIVE)

SINGAPORE — American golfer Sihwan Kim fired a superb five-under-par 66 to take the clubhouse lead in the second round of the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club on Friday (21 January).

With a stellar seven birdies and a double bogey as the only blemish, the 33-year-old shot up to the top of the leaderboard at nine under, three shots ahead of Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kim Joo-hyung, who shot a second consecutive 68 to put himself in contention at the Serapong Course.

South Korea's Jang Dong-kyu and Thailand's Sadom Kaewkanjana are a further stroke behind, following rounds of 69 and 70 respectively.

Sihwan Kim had good pedigree in winning the US Junior Championship back in 2004, and it showed as he closed out his round with four birdies in his final nine holes.

"I putted really well today and hopefully the rest of my game follows,” he said,

“To be honest, I just had a terrible practice round, so I didn’t really expect that. But at the end of the day, you know, you just kind of find what you have and score from there. So that’s what I’ve been doing.”

For Kim Joo-hyung, winner of last week’s The Singapore International, his other target besides winning the US$1.25 million (S$1.7 million) Singapore Open is to maintain his lead atop the Order of Merit list.

His nearest challengers, Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and the United States' Trevor Simsby, are off the pace, while another - Taiwan's Chan Shih-chang, will miss the cut.

“It’s not over till it’s over. I can’t relax over the weekend, but just got to keep grinding, trying to finish the best I can this week," the South Korean said.

England’s Paul Casey, probably the biggest name in the tournament, recovered from his opening-round 76 by carding a 68 to finish on two over, which will most likely be good enough to make the cut, projected to be at three over.

Some notable names who are likely to missed out are former Singapore Open champions Jyoti Randhawa (74, 146) and Zaw Moe (76, 147) as well as local veteran Mardan Mamat (77, 150).

Three players were unable to finish as darkness fell, and will resume their rounds on Saturday morning with the cut.

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