Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent is starting to earn the nickname “Mr. International Series” after firing a scintillating bogey-free eight-under-par 64 in the opening round of the US$1.5 million International Series Singapore today, on the highly-regarded Tampines Course at Tanah Merah Country Club.

Malaysia’s number one Gavin Green sits in second place after an equally impressive and flawless 65 while Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, Phachara Khongwatmai and Tirawat Kaewsiribandit, Korean Kyongjun Moon, Englishman Steve Lewton, and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan carded 67s – in severe sauna-like conditions.

Vincent won the International Series England in Newcastle in June and leads the International Series Order of Merit, having tied for 11th in the International Series Thailand in March, and was once again in inspired form in the Asian Tour’s new raft of million-dollar plus events.

“It was a great day, just got off to a really nice start, and then the momentum just kept going. As I have said before I am just out here trying to be a little better each day,” said Vincent.

“Today was a really good day, a lot of things went my way, a lot of putts went in, so it was a good challenge trying to stay present and stay in the moment and enjoy each stage and not get too far ahead. Yeah, so that was the big challenge today and the golf was phenomenal.”

He began his round on the back nine, and made birdies on 10, 13, 16 and 18; while on the front side he made gains on one, three, five and eight.

Not everything went his way though as on the par-three sixth he hit what looked like a precsion tee shot that was zeroing in on the pin but hit his playing partner American Sihwan Kim’s ball. 

Said Vincent: “Sihwan hit a shot to about three feet – that was the real problem. My shot came in and pitched on his ball and then kicked all the way back [about 30 feet]. I was fortunate to walk away with a par there but a nice little challenge there for me trying to finish my round. I was happy to walk away with a par.”

Vincent’s brother Kieran, a rookie, returned a 68 along with 10 other players including American Peter Uihlein. It’s his debut on the Asian Tour, and 30-year old Scott is expecting great things of his 24-year-old sibling. 

“He is a great player, I have no doubt he will do something really special with his golf, and whether it is here or whether it is down the road it is going to be really good to see him playing well because he is very capable and we’ll just see how he does coming in,” said the Zimbabwean, who won a title in Japan before his success in Newcastle.

Green’s round is one of his best in a long time as he has been battling to try and rediscover the kind of form that saw him win the Asian Tour Order of Merit title in 2017.

“It’s nice to see a good score again, it’s been a tough run,” said Green, who birdied his last three holes and was bogey free.

“It’s been such a tough last few years for me. We have put a lot of work in and it’s coming back nicely. We made some pretty big changes with my coach, and you just have to trust it sometimes. Even today there were just sometimes when this was just so uncomfortable for me. But you just trust it enough and it works out nicely.”

The Malaysian is battling back from a bad bout of COVID which he picked up in the US recently.

“It was pretty bad, I lost my taste and smell. It’s still there, not as bad but I can still feel it. You just don’t enjoy eating as much. It is what it is and it’s the world we live in right now,” he added.

Sadom also toured the testing Tampines Course bogey free as he attempts to add this week’s title to his win in the SMBC Singapore Open in January.

“I had a good start today,” said Sadom. 

“I didn’t expect to finish the day with under par because I played in the morning, and I thought it should be windy but it was not. I started at the 10th tee and got two birdies in the first nine holes which made my game easier.  After that, I controlled my game quite well during the last nine holes. I’m satisfied with my performance today because I played as my game plan, shot by shot, and finished the day with bogey-free.” 

One player who really felt the heat and humidity today was Moon.

“The weather is so hot, and my shot wasn’t that good, but the putting went well, and I recovered well,” said Moon.

“The weather is so hot I can’t even practice, so I’m planning to take a rest. It’s my first time playing this course and my first experience of an International Series event. I’m also playing next week in Jeju.”

Sihwan Kim, who currently leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit, returned a 71 – impressively bouncing back from a torrid four over the first nine, with a five-under homeward half.

Pre-tournament favourite Patrick Reed from the United States carded a 73. The 2018 Masters champion was one under at the turn but struggled home with dropped shots on 11 and 14. 

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, winner of last week’s Mandiri Indonesian Open, also signed for a 73. 

Scores after round 1 of the International Series Singapore being played at the par 72, 7535 Yards Tanah Merah CC course (am – denotes amateur):
64 – Scott Vincent (ZIM).
65 – Gavin Green (MAS).
67 – Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), Kyongjun Moon (KOR), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Steve Lewton (ENG), Juvic Pagunsan (PHI).
68 – Dodge Kemmer (USA), Kieran Vincent (ZIM), Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN), Turk Pettit (USA), Janne Kaske (FIN), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Todd Sinnott (AUS), Michael Tran (VNM), Peter Uihlein (USA), Paul Peterson (USA).
69 – Veer Ahlawat (IND), Yoseop Seo (KOR), Neil Schietekat (RSA), Ben Eccles (AUS), Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Natipong Srithong (THA), Jbe Kruger (RSA).
70 – Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND), Scott Hend (AUS), Panuphol Pittayarat (THA), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Justin Harding (RSA), Jaco Ahlers (RSA), Shubhankar Sharma (IND), Jeunghun Wang (KOR), Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Richard T. Lee (CAN), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Ryo Hisatsune (JPN), Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND), Andy Ogletree (USA), Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA).
71 – Ben Jones (ENG), Sihwan Kim (USA), Ben Leong (MAS), Angelo Que (PHI), Chapchai Nirat (THA), Prayad Marksaeng (THA), Thaworn Wiratchant (THA), Tanapat Pichaikool (THA), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Keith Horne (RSA), Gunn Charoenkul (THA), James Piot (USA), Kevin Yuan (AUS), Mitchell Slorach (SIN), Ian Snyman (RSA), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Taichi Kho (am, HKG), Hongtaek Kim (KOR).
72 – Sarit Suwannarut (THA), Tristen Strydom (RSA), Taehee Lee (KOR), Jack Harrison (ENG), Jake Higginbottom (AUS), Aman Raj (IND), Cory Crawford (AUS), Sebastian Crampton (USA), Hiroshi Tai (am, SIN), Lee Chieh-po (TPE), Trevor Simsby (USA), Mardan Mamat (SIN), Rashid Khan (IND), Danthai Boonma (THA), Choo Tze Huang (SIN), Christoffer Baumann (SWE).
73 – Wade Ormsby (AUS), Shiv Kapur (IND), Kevin Phelan (IRL), Junseok Lee (AUS), S. Vikkash Babu (SIN), Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM), Honey Baisoya (IND), Bio Kim (KOR), Yuki Inamori (JPN), Patrick Reed (USA), Minchel Choi (KOR), Anthony Quayle (AUS), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Brett Rumford (AUS), Chase Koepka (USA), Jediah Morgan (AUS), Jyoti Randhawa (IND), Sungyeol Kwon (KOR), Abdul Hadi (SIN), Sam Brazel (AUS), Faisal Salhab (am, KSA), Will Heffernan (AUS).
74 – Sangchai Kaewcharoen (THA), Jarin Todd (USA), S. Chikkarangappa (IND), Zaw Moe (MYN), Chang Wei-lun (TPE), Ben Campbell (NZL), Nicklaus Chiam (SIN), Justin Quiban (PHI), Rory Hie (INA), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), James Leow (am, SIN), Zach Bauchou (USA).
75 – Gregory Foo (SIN), Koh Deng Shan (SIN), Yikeun Chang (KOR), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Othman Almulla (KSA), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Yash Majmudar (am, IND), Jovan Rebula (RSA), Prom Meesawat (THA), Poom Saksansin (THA).
76 – Lu Wei-chih (TPE), Doyeob Mun (KOR), Daniel Fox (AUS), Rahil Gangjee (IND), Marc Ong (SIN), Marc Kawasoe (SIN), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Travis Smyth (AUS), Blake Windred (AUS), Miguel Carballo (ARG), Danny Masrin (INA), Jesse Yap (SIN), Ryan Ang (am, SIN).
77 – Hung Chien-yao (TPE), Shergo Al Kurdi (JOR).
78 – Saud Al Sharif (am, KSA), Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Berry Henson (USA).
79 – Viraj Madappa (IND), Josh Younger (AUS), Justin Kuk (am, SIN).
81 – Chiragh Kumar (IND), Naoki Sekito (JPN).

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