Teo confident of making it to Durban finals
With a solid round of 76 at Sentosa Golf Club's Tanjong Course, Teo Choon Hoe finished six strokes ahead of his closest competitor from Division D in the first of two qualifying rounds of the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) World Golfers Championship (WGC) on Tuesday.
As a result, the 44-year-old businessman - along with 39 other golfers - is through to the SPH WGC Finals that take place 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 to 8.
They will be coached by top local instructor M Balraj before travelling.
But if Teo, a 16.6-handicap index player, keeps up his red-hot form, he could have his handicap cut and get bumped up a couple of divisions.
Not that it would bother him.
"I want to cut down my handicap actually," he told The New Paper.
"Put me in Division A or B, I don't think that would be a problem. I think I can shoot some decent scores at Serapong if we play off the white tees again.
"I usually play off the blue tees and my best rounds at Serapong are in the 70s, so playing off the white tees is short for me.
"I definitely hope to do well enough to win the final and qualify for South Africa."
Even though they are amateur golfers, those who have qualified for the Oct 7 final are as competitive as professionals, with the grand prize and prestige at stake.
Sam Peck, a 43-year-old businessman who also shot a 76 to top Division B on Tuesday, said: "Of course I'm taking part to win. If not, I won't even join this competition.
"I didn't three-putt at all on Tuesday, so I hope to keep up this putting form in the final."
The next qualifying round is at Tanjong on Monday.
In each of the two qualifying rounds, the top player from each division goes through to the final.
As some divisions had more players than others, the top 40 per cent from each division were selected to make the final.
ROUND ONE QUALIFIERS*:
- DIVISION A (0 - 5.4)
Timothy Ding (78)
- DIVISION B (5.5 - 10.4)
Sam Peck (76), Tan Lee Hong (79), Kris Poniman (80), Chua Poh Yong (80), Derrick Tay (81), Tai Kok Lai (81), Leverett Chua (82), James Fu (82).
- DIVISION C (10.5 - 15.4)
Chan Wai Leong (81), Gan Hua Feng (81), Brian Chen (82), Darren Ware (82), Se Kim Chye (82), Vincent Ee (83), Ko Yeo (83), Oh Kian Kiau (83), Bobby Bong (85), Jessie Tan (85), Shannon Ng (86), Ron Pang (87), Ju Kai Meng (87).
- DIVISION D (15.5 - 20.4)
Teo Choon Hoe (76), Lee Kian (82), Soh Soon Kai (86), Peter Tan (87), Tan Horng Chiang (88), Rick Varatharaju (89), Lim Tengsay (91), Aik Sing Yeow (92), Karen Teo (92), Ernst Huber (93), Oh Ming Choo (94), Chew Hai Chwee (94).
- DIVISION E (20.5 - 25.4)
David Seow (87), Chew Meng Hui (95), Loh Kum Chuen (96), Mak Weng Tat (97).
- Note: The organisers are still checking on the validity of two handicaps submitted.