Waterford’s Kevin Phelan carded an even-par round of 71 to sit just five shots off the early pace after a tricky opening day at the SMBC Singapore Open.
The 31-year old traded three birdies, one bogey and a double to be sitting just outside the top-30 at level par. Fighting his tee-shots for much of the day, Phelan found just 5 of 14 greens in reg around the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, hitting 13 of 18 greens in regulation while needing 30 putts.
It’s a week of opportunity in Singapore with the R&A offering the leading four players who finish in the top-12 and ties who are not already exempt, entry into the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews this summer.
If that wasn’t enough, those within the top-30 on the Order of Merit after the $1.25 million event will qualify for next month’s $5 mill Saudi International, presenting the likes of Phelan with a chance to join Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Dustin Johnson at Royal Greens Golf Club.
For now such thoughts remain a distant dream for Phelan who currently sits in 114th spot on the Asian Tour’s money-list having earned just over $6,000 from three starts. He could need as much as a podium finish to get himself to Saudi.
As for The Open spots, in the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing 17 January will be awarded a place in The 150th Open. Phelan is currently ranked 1715 in the world.
South Korea’s Taehoon Ok and Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai lead the way atop the board after each signing for five-under par 66s.
FreeSports is airing live and exclusive coverage from Singapore this week. FreeSports is a free to air sports channel operating in the UK and Ireland. In Ireland, FreeSports is available on channel 422 on Sky.
- Full scoring HERE