Spieth trails as Horne takes early lead in S’pore

Singapore, January 28

South Africa’s Keith Horne shot a five-under 66 to lead the SMBC Singapore Open after the first round of play on Thursday, with world No 1 Jordan Spieth breathing down his neck.

Spieth and South Korea’s An Byeong-Hun posted identical birdies in the fourth, seventh, 10th and 18th holes, to trail Horne by a stroke as the four-day tournament teed off at the Sentosa Golf Club Serapong Course.

Bad weather suspended play late afternoon and competition will resume on Friday for 57 players who have not completed the first round. Teeing off on the back nine, Horne hit two bogeys but raised his game to top the leaderboard with his seventh birdie in the final hole.

Despite not playing at Serapong for a couple of years, the 44-year-old said he usually has a good outing at the 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.

Playing in the city-state for the first time, Spieth remains focused on winning the Singapore Open but he was frustrated with his drives, but the 22-year-old Texan said he was still adjusting. “It was a good start,” said the 2015 US Open and Masters champion.

Overall, Spieth said Serapong lived up to what he had heard from PGA Tour pros who had played here previously. “My expectations were high, considering how highly people have spoken of this golf course,” Spieth told reporters. “It played very similar to a pretty challenging PGA Tour.”

Spieth has put aside earlier complaints of exhaustion after a top five finish at Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday.