SMBC Singapore Open 2019: Same strokes, different moods

Thailand's Poom Saksansin hitting out of the bunker on the 18th hole at the rain-delayed Singapore Open at Sentosa's Serapong Course yesterday. He is looking forward to some welcome rest and chicken rice.
Thailand's Poom Saksansin hitting out of the bunker on the 18th hole at the rain-delayed Singapore Open at Sentosa's Serapong Course yesterday. He is looking forward to some welcome rest and chicken rice.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Joint-leader Casey laments front-nine blues, Thai Poom satisfied with second-round 70

They played on the same flight and had the same score after the second round of the US$1 million (S$1.35 million) SMBC Singapore Open yesterday. But what Paul Casey and Poom Saksansin did not share, after holding the joint clubhouse lead at the halfway mark, was the same mood.

World No. 24 Casey cut a frustrated figure after finishing his day with a bogey on the ninth for a four-under 67 and 135 total at the weather-delayed tournament.

"It was good, I mean, I managed to get the last one out of the way, that was disappointing, but the rest was really nice," he said.

The Englishman, 41, has not dropped a shot on the back nine of the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course this week, sinking seven birdies. But it has been a different story on the front nine - four bogeys, with two coming on the ninth.

Still, the Ryder Cup winner was in good enough mood to add to his ongoing jokes about Poom, who beat him in the EurAsia Cup last January.

"It's nice to be on top of the leaderboard with my best mate Poom, whom I can't seem to beat. He's great," he said with a wry smile.

"I think my second round was better than his, but there's still time."

NOT TOO PLEASED

It was good, I mean, I managed to get the last one out of the way, that was disappointing, but the rest was really nice.

PAUL CASEY, joint clubhouse leader with Poom Saksansin after a 67, on the bogey on his closing hole.

PLEASED AS PUNCH

Although I shot only one under, I think it was a very nice round. The wind was picking up and my iron-play wasn't that good.

POOM SAKSANSIN, taking the positives from his second-round 70.

Poom, on the other hand, was pleased with his second-round 70.

"Although I shot only one under, I think it was a very nice round. The wind was picking up and my iron-play wasn't that good," he said.

Asked what he thought of Casey considering him his "nemesis", the soft-spoken Thai, 25, demurred: "Casey played really nicely today.

"He hit it so far on the eighth hole. I really liked that shot. I have to follow my own style because he hits it long and I hit it short."

The duo were among the 78 players forced to finish their first rounds yesterday after weather delays ended play on Thursday.

A downpour suspended play again yesterday morning for about two hours, which meant the other half of the field could not complete their second rounds. Defending champion Sergio Garcia is three under after eight holes.

Play resumes at 7.30am today, with the third round slated to start in the afternoon.

Japan's Taihei Sato and Shotaro Wada are one stroke off the lead on 136 while Davis Love III is tied for sixth at 137.

It was not the best of days for Singaporeans, with only Johnson Poh and amateur James Leow (both 141) of the 12 meeting the projected one-under cut, although Koh Deng Shan is also one under after nine holes.

Both Casey and Poom said they were looking forward to some welcome rest after 25 holes in a day.

"My feet are starting to hurt. Fingers crossed that we get done (with the third round) by tomorrow," said Casey. "Hopefully, the guys can play quickly tomorrow so we can crack on and have 18 holes on Sunday."

Poom revealed that he had some dinner plans in mind as well.

"I am going to eat some good food, really get a good one. No more 7-Eleven (dinners) for me. Maybe I'll eat chicken rice," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Same strokes, different moods'. Print Edition | Subscribe