Seow aims to help Singapore win team honours at world amateur golf event
Second last year, can S'pore win it this time round?
He had never imagined representing Singapore in a major sporting event.
So when he won top honours at the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) in Durban, South Africa, last year, it was a dream come true.
Banker David Seow, 30, was one of five Singaporeans who flew the flag for the country at the prestigious amateur tournament.
In an amazing performance over four rounds, the Singapore team finished second overall among 32 international teams and Seow was named World Champion in the Division E (20.5-25.4 handicap) category.
A year on, Seow (right), who also owns a restaurant, still remembers vividly his experience in Durban.
"It was a very proud moment for me. It wasn't just about winning, but also the experience on the whole," he told The New Paper.
"Meeting and playing against golfers from all over the world, the super tiring schedule, everything was so unexpected, but also very memorable."
Seow will have a chance to defend his title at this year's World Amateur Golfers Championship event in Antalya, Turkey, from Nov 28 to Dec 5.
First, he will have to top his division in the SPH World Golfers Championship, a tournament that, for the second successive year, will serve as a national qualifier for the World Finals in Belek, Antalya.
Five amateur golfers will get the chance to represent Singapore in Turkey should they emerge winners at the SPH qualifiers. The WGC is played at different handicap categories, allowing golfers of all abilities the rare chance to represent their country at a world event.
Three qualifying rounds will be held on Sept 25, Sept 28 and Oct 2 at Sentosa's Serapong course, followed by the national finals on Oct 14.
Each round will comprise up to 120 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 up to 40 others on a direct entry.
A 20.4 handicapper last year, Seow, who picked up golf as a child, has now improved to a 14 handicap index. But he admits he hasn't played much golf since his victory in Durban.
"I played a lot last year because of the qualifiers and practice always makes you better," he said.
"I haven't decided if I'm enrolling again this year because of the schedule, but if I can make, I'll be there for sure."
His teammate from 2014, Sushminder Singh, who finished seventh in the B category (5.5-10.4) at the World Finals has already pencilled in the local qualifier dates on his calendar.
"I've even asked a few of my golfing buddies to take part as well," he said.
"Last year, they were telling me it was difficult to win. But when I did, they were saying 'alamak, I should have played also.'
"For amateurs like us, a tournament like this is a great opportunity. And to qualify for Turkey, that would be a real bonus."
Mr Patrick Daniel, Editor-in-Chief of the English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, which set up a new unit, SPH Golf, said: "We are delighted to host an event that gives amateurs the rare opportunity to represent Singapore in a major international tournament.
"We finished second overall last year, among 32 international teams. We hope our team can go one better this time."
The World Finals will be played on some of Turkey's best golf courses, including the Lykia Links Course, the Gloria New Golf Course and the Gloria Old Golf Course.
Said S Murali, general manager of SPH Golf, which runs the Singapore qualifiers: "Last year, our team not only finished second but David Seow also won individual honours in Category E.
"What I like about this event is that it allows players of all abilities the chance to wear Singapore colours. And it would be wonderful to do it in such a special year, like Singapore's 50th birthday, too."
Individual entry fees for the SPH World Golfers Championship Qualifiers are $568, with an early bird price of $528. Those who wish to play in the national final directly need to pay $1,288, with limited slots available. Corporate flights are also available.
All participants will receive goodie bags worth more than $500 each.
The hole-in-one prize for the qualifiers and the final will be a BMWi3 worth $166,800.
All participants must have an official handicap that is recognised by the Singapore Golf Association, which has sanctioned the tournament.
To register for the tournament, go to www.tnp.sg/wagc or call Amy at 6319-5915 for more details.
Qualifiers on Sept 25, Sept 28 and Oct 2. National Finals on Oct 14
Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong course
Entry fee for the SPH World Golfers Championship Qualifiers is $568, with an early bird price of $528 (by Aug 20). 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/wagc or call Amy at 6319-5915.