Kosuke Hamamoto of Thailand continued to lead the way in the SMBC Singapore Open after 45 players finished off their first rounds on Friday morning.
The 20 year old Thai-Japanese shot a blemish-free six under 65 on Thursday for a one-shot advantage over world number 24 Matt Kuchar of the United States, Richard T. Lee of Canada, the in-form Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand and Japan prospect Rikuya Hoshino.
Defending champion Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand opened his title defence with a flawless 67 to lie two back of the lead.
Tournament drawcards Justin Rose of England, a Major winner and Olympic gold medallist, and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson carded matching 68s in their first rounds of 2020.
Top amateurs James Leow, the reigning SEA Games individual champion, and Low Wee Jin along with Abdul Hadi were joint best of the 13 home players in the field thanks to one under 70s.
Gunn, whose third place in last week’s Hong Kong Open was his fourth straight top-five finish on the Asian and Japan Tours, caught the eye with some stellar play and two late birdies on Thursday evening saw him jump up the leaderboard.
The 27 year old has been in such good form of late that he has started to literally dream about winning.
“I couldn’t take the lead but I’m very happy with my round,” said Gunn. “I played conservatively and did not go for any of the par fives. I told my caddie there’s no point going for it in two, it’s just the first day of the tournament.
“To be honest, there have been so many people that were sharing with me and asking like how have you played and you have been very close so far that I have even started to dream about winning tournaments.
“I think that’s my inner desire probably. But I will try to put it at the back of my head, concentrate on the game and see how I play the next three days.”
The 53rd staging of the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Tour with total prize money of US$1 million.