Horne takes early Singapore Open limelight

From Asian Tour

16_SingOpen_HorneK_rd1NEWSouth Africa’s Keith Horne upstaged the tournament’s biggest stars by firing an opening five-under-par 66 to grab the morning round lead at the SMBC Singapore Open on Thursday.

The 44-year-old, who is still searching for his maiden victory on the Asian Tour, mixed his card with seven birdies and two bogeys to take a one-shot advantage over Korea’s Byeonghun An and world number one Jordan Spieth after the duo returned with matching 67s at the Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club.

Horne narrowly kept his playing status on the Asian Tour by finishing in 59th place on the 2015 Order of Merit.

However his return to the Sentosa Golf Club has brought back some early cheers for the South African.

“I’m really happy with my result today as I haven’t played here for a couple of years. But whenever I do come over here, I generally play well.

“So it’s nice to renew my friendship with the golf course. I had a bit of a walkabout in the middle of the round but then I also had a good run coming in,” said Horne.

Horne credited his driver and putting for putting him into an advantageous position at the Singapore showpiece. He was also pleased to have outshone the tournament’s marquee names, almost half his age.

“I think they (Spieth and An) were just born when I turned professional so it’s always nice when you play well and get off to a great start.

“I putted great today which was important. I put a new driver in the bag today and I hit it so far and straight and that made a huge difference,” said Horne.

pieth meanwhile showed no signs of nerves despite playing at the Serapong course for the first time.

He enjoyed a bogey-free run which he credited to his putting.

“My speed control was great, with no three putts, I had a lot of putts over 30 feet today, I know I was not hitting it close enough but I managed to hit the fairway to a good number and get onto the greens where I just need to two-putt. It was pretty stress free and but there were no real opportunities,” said Spieth.

Meanwhile An, voted Europe’s Rookie of the Year, braved the heat and humidity to put up a strong performance that underscores his status as the world number 26.

“I think it’s too hot. I wished it was cooler but you know, I cannot have any complaints as there was no rain and the winds were fairly calm today.

“I definitely didn’t leave any putts out there that’s for sure. Putted great and made all the putts I had to make. I didn’t really make any stupid mistakes today with my shots, so I was happy overall,” said An.

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