Defending champ Jazz Janewattananond leads at halfway mark of SMBC Singapore Open

SINGAPORE – Jazz Janewattananond’s love affair with the SMBC Open shows no sign of fading as the defending champion put himself in strong position to claim back-to-back titles.

The 24-year-old Thai, who had four Asian Tour titles last year to clinch the Order of Merit, fired a six-under 65 on Friday (Jan 17) to claim the half-way lead at 10-under 132.

He was one clear of South Korean Kim Joo-hyung, who signed for a 66 at the Sentosa Golf Club, and Miguel Tabuena (65) of the Philippines.

The only golfer to defend his Open crown was Australian star Adam Scott who triumphed in 2005 and 2006. He won a third title in 2010.

Reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose, who at world No. 9 is the highest ranked player in the field, signed for a 66 and was -third on 134 alongside American Matt Kuchar (68) at the Serapong Course.

Amateur James Leow, who clinched the individual title at last month’s SEA Games for Singapore, was the Republic’s highest-placed golfer at the US$1 million (S$1.35 million) tournament.

He shot a 73 and was tied-51st on 135, making the weekend cut which was one-over.

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