Malaysian ace Gavin Green continued to show he is on the comeback trail again on Friday after spectacularly posting his second successive bogey-free seven under par 65 to take the lead on 14 under at the inaugural $1.5 million International Series Singapore.
He leads by three from another of the region’s finest young players, Phachara Khongwatmai from Thailand, who shot a 66; while India’s Veer Ahlawat and Korean Yoseop Seo are a stroke further behind after they both returned 65’s — the latter’s round was highlighted by six birdies on the trot from the seventh.
Overnight leader Scott Vincent from Zimbabwe slipped back after carding a 73 and is seven under in a tie for eighth. Green, the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, has struggled with his game over the past few seasons but appears to be back on track after two brilliant days on the demanding Tampines Course at Tanah Merah Country Club.
Reed bounces back
“Obviously [ball] striking has to be pretty good on this golf course, you have to keep it in play, you can’t miss too many shots,” said the 28-year-old, on another day of searing heat and humidity. Phachara also toured the layout bogey free to put himself in position, like Green, to try and win his second Asian Tour title.
England’s Steve Lewton is nine under, along with Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, after holing his approach shot for an eagle on the par-five 18th to return a 68.
Pre-tournament favourite Patrick Reed bounced back from his opening 73 with a 68 and is three under.
“I just put the ball in position on a lot of holes, especially early on but I didn’t make any putts — just burned the edges and when you are doing that around here it is hard to shoot low,” said the American, the 2018 Masters champion.
“I definitely need to shoot a really low one tomorrow. I feel I’m doing what I’m supposed to from tee to green, but I need to capitalise on a couple of par fives and holes like eight and nine here. And I need the ball to go in with putts.
“I feel like I’m hitting a lot of good putts, my speed was decent today, and yesterday it was actually great, but it is one of those days that instead of the ball going in, it is lipping out and burning edges.’
India’s Aman Raj played the shot of the day, making a hole in one on the par three 16th — using a wedge from 140 yards. It was a timely shot as he finished right on the cut mark, which was one under, after shooting 71.
The UAE trio all missed the cut that fell at one under par: Shiv Kapur of India shooting his second round of 73, Jumeirah Golf Estates Amateur Yash Majmudar with rounds of 75 and 71 and fellow-Indian Jeev Milkha Singh with two rounds of 78.