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Horne takes early lead at Singapore Open

AFP-JIJI, Kyodo

South Africa’s Keith Horne shot a five-under-par 66 to lead the Singapore Open after the first round of play 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 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.

“I putted great today which was important. I put a new driver in the bag … and I hit it so far and straight and that made a huge difference.”

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 U.S. Open and Masters champion

.Hideto Tanihara began strongly with birdies on five of his first nine holes before two late bogeys pegged him back to a 68, a shot off the leaders.

“There are lots of high-ranked players and it’s really fun to be able to play on a nice course like this,” said Tanihara who had two bogeys on the front nine before knocking in a series of long putts on a three-birdie run immediately after the turn.

Tanihara finished with two more birdies from the final six holes, but felt he left some shots on the heavily sloping greens.

“I couldn’t figure (the greens) out. But I’m glad I’ve made a good start,” Tanihara said. “I’ve made some adjustments to my swing and it’s gradually clicking, I’m finally placing the ball where I want it.”