Sports

FOR YOU, JING

There was double joy for Lam Chih Bing yesterday as the Singaporean golfer secured playing rights in Asia for next season, after finishing second at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand.

The 37-year-old shot the day's lowest score of seven-under 64 at the Springfield Royal Country Club in Cha-am, Hua Hin, for a four-day total of 11-under 274, level with Japan's Akinori Tani (70), reported asiantour.com.

The duo were poised for a play-off to determine the winner, but Lam forfeited the shoot-out to rush home for the birthday of his daughter, Tian Jing, who turns two today.

Lam, who has won once on the Asian Tour, made up for the disappointment of finishing 65th on the 2013 Order of Merit by putting on a scintillating display of golf when he shot a bogey-free round highlighted by one eagle and five birdies.

"The goal was to finish inside the top 40 and, once I knew that I made it, I had to rush to catch my flight so I can spend time with my family, especially my daughter whose birthday is on Sunday," said Lam, who is the chairman of the Asian Tour Tournament Players Committee.

"It really means a lot to me that I have earned the Tour card again.

BETTER STATUS

"Previously I played through my country exemption category, but I will get a better status if I secured a card through Qualifying School. That's why I am here this week."

"Although I have won on the Asian Tour before, it didn't give me an edge over the rest out here. I think these young guys are fearless and there are many good players but, I suppose, experience counts as well," added Lam, whose last appearance in the Qualifying School was in 2005.

Singapore's other representative, Koh Dengshan, missed out after shooting a 72 for a two-under total of 283 and joint-46th spot.

Filipino veteran Cassius Casas, Hamza Amin of Pakistan, Lionel Weber of France, Nicholas Cullen of Australia, Poom Saksansin of Thailand and Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela were among the 40 players who also earned Tour cards for 2014.

All Qualifying School entrants will be eligible to compete on the burgeoning Asian Development Tour, which has become a career pathway for professionals to hone their skills and gain experience before entering into the premier Asian Tour.

LEADERBOARD:

274: Akinori Tani 72-67-65-70, 
Lam Chih Bing 68-69-73-64

275: Lee Tae Hee 71-70-69-65, 
Shin Hyuk Chul 69-71-68-67, 
Nicholas Cullen 69-67-71-68

276: Paul Peterson 66-68-72-70

SELECTED:

283: Koh Dengshan 73-66-72-72.

GOLF