Korean Taehoon Ok eagled the two par fives on the front nine of the tough Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club today, Jan. 20, to take the clubhouse lead alongside Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand on the opening day of the SMBC Singapore Open.

Ok and Suradit fired five-under-par 66s in the final event of the season on the Asian Tour to lead from Korean Sihwan Kim, Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and Justin De Los Santos from the Philippines who returned 67s.

Koreans Joohyung Kim, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit and winner of last week’s The Singapore International, and Dongkyu Jang came in with 68s, in a group of players consisting of Thailand’s 14-year-old wonderkid Ratchanon Chantananuwat, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit, and Kosuke Hamamoto and Singapore’s Jesse Yap.

Play was abandoned for the day at around 5:51 p.m. due to poor weather (lightning and rain), with 52 players due to resume their opening rounds at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 21.

Little-known Ok hit a rescue to 20 feet for his eagle on the fourth and on the par-five seventh nailed a three wood to 15 feet and holed out. He also made three birdies, including one on 18, and two bogeys.

“The last tournament didn’t go too well so I was feeling a bit anxious,” the 23-year-old, who missed the cut in The Singapore International, said.

“But after last week I’ve been practicing a lot, so think I’ve improved and think I have figured things out,” he added.

The Korean tied for 10th in the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship at the end of last year suggesting more results were to follow.

Back in 2020, he made three birdies in his last five holes to secure the last card at the Qualifying School.

Suradit had a chance to take the outright lead but missed an eagle putt on the par-five 18th from 15 feet. Impressively, he went round bogey-free.

“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, but it’s okay,” he said.

He played on the European Tour last year and feels he has come back stronger. Joohyung Kim put himself in a strong position to win the Merit title at the weekend.

Ratchanon, better known as “TK”, finished third last week and excelled again today playing with England’s Paul Casey.

Casey in his first event back after the end of season break returned a 76.

Taehoon Ok of Korea
Taehoon Ok of Korea Photo credit: Paul Lakatos/SMBC Singapore Open

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