Stoked to a tee
Five spots to represent S'pore at the World Golfers Championship up for grabs
Most of them had never imagined representing Singapore in a major sporting event.
So when they swept the honours at the 2008 World Golfers Championship (WGC) in Orlando, US, it was a dream come true.
Six years on, Mr Daren Lim still remembers how he and the other amateur team members - Mr Francis Tan, Mr Harmeet Sahney, Mr Lee Tong Leng and Mr Nicholas Sim - won the team championship. Mr Lim and Mr Tan were also world champions in their respective handicap categories.
"It was an incredible feeling when we won," said Mr Lim, 33, who played golf for Singapore as a junior.
"I had been in the national team before, but the rest hadn't. So they were stoked about representing the country even with their higher handicaps.
"It was a very proud moment for all of us to win something for our country."
This year, five other amateur golfers will get the chance to don national colours in November's World Golfers Championship (WGC) in South Africa.
The WGC is played at different handicap categories, allowing golfers of all abilities the rare chance to represent their country at a world event.
For the first time, Singapore Press Holdings is organising the SPH World Golfers Championship, a tournament that will serve as a national qualifier for the November finals in Durban.
Two qualifying rounds will be held on Sept 23 and 29 at Sentosa's The Tanjong Course, followed by the national finals on Oct 7 at The Serapong Course.
Each round will comprise up to 144 male and female golfers across five handicaps: 0-5.4, 5.5-10.4, 10.5-15.4, 15.5-20.4 and 20.5-25.4.
The top 80 qualifiers will advance to the final, where they will be joined by 40 others on a direct entry.
Mr Patrick Daniel, Editor-in-Chief of the English and Malay Newspaper Division, said: "SPH is happy to organise this golf tournament for amateurs of all skill levels. They will have the rare opportunity to represent Singapore in a major international tournament. Plus, they will get to play on some of the finest courses in South Africa."
The winners of each handicap group will fly the Singapore flag from Nov 1 to 8, when they will play two practice rounds and four tournament rounds.
Competing against amateurs from Europe and North America, Mr Lim said he and his team went into the competition with low expectations.
The businessman, who won the 0-5.4 category, advised: "My tip for the golfers in the WGC is to just enjoy the game. Many people focus too much on winning that they forget to have fun, which is what golf is all about."
Once the team is picked, the winners will be given coaching and be attired by sponsors such as Titleist and Footjoy.
Mr S. Murali, deputy editor of The New Paper and one of the tournament organisers, said: "We have got one of Singapore's top coaches, Mr M. Balraj, to give the team some coaching before the final."
All participants must have an official handicap that is recognised by the Singapore Golf Association.
Winners of the hole-in-one prize for the qualifiers and the final will receive a Lotus Evora worth $250,000 (before COE).
All participants will receive a one-year all-in-one print and digital subscription to The New Paper, a box of Titleist Velocity golf balls and other attractive gifts worth more than $300.
SPH World Golfers Championship
Sentosa Golf Club
Sept 23 and 29
Entry fee for the SPH World Golfers Championship Qualifiers is $588, with an early bird price of $488. Those who wish to play in the national final directly need to pay $1,288, with limited slots available.
To register, go to www.tnp.sg/wgc