Confident start for Khan in Singapore

11/8/2012 2:49:50 AM
Simon Khan  (Getty Images)
Simon Khan (Getty Images)

England’s Simon Khan took advantage of benign playing conditions on the opening morning of the Barclays Singapore Open to grab an early lead at Sentosa Golf Club.

The former BMW PGA Champion birdied the fourth hole, before making a hat-trick of gains from the sixth to race to four under par through eight holes.

That was one ahead of compatriots Paul Casey and Lee Slattery, Thai duo Prom Meesawat and Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Spaniard Pablo Martin, and the top six all had different reasons for needing a good week.

With Khan’s victory at Wentworth Club two years ago earning him a European Tour extension until the end of 2015, it did not matter that the 40 year old currently finds himself outside the top 115 in The Race to Dubai, with just one regular event of the season remaining.

However, he is undoubtedly keen to secure a first top three finish since holding off Luke Donald for the biggest win of his career.

Martin, on the other hand, needs a big week in order to climb into the top 115 and avoid a trip to the Qualifying School.

Casey was making a late charge for a place in the field at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai after top six finishes in his last two events, and at 83rd place in The Race to Dubai needs to improve 23 places a fortnight before the top 60 players on the Money List assemble at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Ironically, the man who is in his sights immediate sights is his compatriot Slattery, who is currently holding the 60th and final ticket for the season finale.

Former US PGA Champion Y E Yang, Dane Thomas Björn and India’s Shiv Kapur were all bunched together on two under par in the early stages.

World Number One and Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy is among the later starters, but American four-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson was three over par through 11 holes.