Ace in race to Durban
Lim bags hole-in-one in qualifier for World Golfers Championship Finals in South Africa
The odds of an amateur golfer registering a hole-in-one is said to be 12,750 to one.
Yet, there was an ace in the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) World Golfers Championship (WGC) at Sentosa Golf Club yesterday.
Achieved by 53-year-old Andrew Lim, the feat also gave the inaugural SPH tournament a major boost.
Lim, an event organiser, registered the ace on the 116-metre fifth hole of the Tanjong course en route to a final score of 94.
Competing in the C Division (10.5-15.4), he said: "It was an uphill par-three. I hit a good shot with a seven-iron."
The 14.1 handicap index player added: "But my flightmates and I spent about five minutes to search for the ball and we couldn't find it.
"One of them suggested we look into the cup, and true enough there it was.
"I couldn't believe it."
Lim's only regret was that his rare feat - the only one of the day - was not achieved at either of the two pre-designated par-three holes that carried mega prizes for a hole-in-one.
Golfers stood to win a Lotus Evora courtesy of Richburg Motors if they could get a hole-in-one at the second hole, or a Switzerland holiday package courtesy of Dynasty Travel if they managed it at the 13th hole.
On a hot day in the popular event, around 100 golfers competed for the chance to represent Singapore at the WGC Finals.
Lim's feat aside, there were many other talking points as there were long hole-outs for birdies, easy putts missed and of course the comparison of scores.
Yesterday's competition was the first of two qualifying rounds - the next round is at Tanjong on Monday - and the top 80 players will advance to the final at Sentosa's Serapong Course on Oct 7.
The winners of the tournament's five handicap divisions - A (0-5.4), B (5.5-10.4), C (10.5-15.4), D (15.5-20.4) and E (20.5-25.4) - will represent Singapore at the WGC Finals in Durban, South Africa, from Nov 1-8. They will be coached by top local instructor M Balraj before travelling.
One young golfer who put himself in contention is 15-year-old Timothy Ding, a 4.8-handicapper who shot a fine round of 78 in his first round of golf at Tanjong to finish top of his division yesterday.
The Anglo-Chinese School (International) student, who made one birdie and 10 pars, said: "I hit almost every fairway but missed quite a lot of putts.
"I joined this event mainly for experience as it's the first time I'm competing against adults, and I wanted to see how I would do. With this score, I hope to be able to do well enough in the final to win the chance to represent Singapore in the WGC Finals."
The leaders of the other categories are Sam Peck (76, Division B), Chan Wai Leong (81 ocb, Division C), Teo Choon Hoe (76, Division D) and David Seow (87, Division E).
The results of yesterday's qualifiers will be announced in The New Paper tomorrow.
Lim added: "Overall, the greens were very fast for us but it was a fun, enjoyable and well-organised event."