Golf

Ivan Chua a popular player of the round

Veteran single-handicapper shoots 76; Team SunMoon in pole position

He is a household name at The Business Times Corporate Golf League, a tournament that's now into its eighth year.

He's played in it for the last five years and supported the event as a generous sponsor (when he was managing director of SunMoon Food) and strong campaigner, in addition to being an ambassador for the popular competition.

Ivan Chua is a man closely associated with the league. So when the 46-year-old's name was called out by emcee Benny Teo for the main honours at Warren Golf and Country Club last Thursday, there was thunderous applause, amplified by the continuous roars and whistling of players in his team, Hugo Boss.

On a day when the pristine and challenging refurbished course at Choa Chu Kang bared its fangs and turned golfing lions into pussycats in the fifth of six legs, Chua reigned supreme.

The eight-handicapper shot a four-over 76 (three birdies) - the joint best score with Brian Seah - for the best individual stableford score of 39 points (based on system 36 modified) on countback and take centre stage as the FJ Player of the Round.

Chua won a T-shirt, a belt, a pair of shoes and socks, and a cap (all from FJ), and a gleaming trophy sponsored by The Business Times.

Said Chua, amid the clinking of glasses at his noisy table: "I am thrilled. This event is close to my heart, having played for four teams since 2013, and having been on the winning team, SunMoon, a few times.

"I think this is a great tournament, as it brings together a golfing family of corporates, clients and sponsors in an atmosphere of informality bursting with camaraderie and friendship."

However, Chua's side, Team Boss, are not faring great as they dropped to Category A after securing a team total of 102 points at Warren for a four-round aggregate of 421 (the lowest score in five rounds is dropped).

Chua looks at the team slide (see table) positively, chuckling: "We are akin to Manchester United. Jose Mourinho's side won the Europa League and will go for the Champions League this season. So we want to win the A Category, and go for the top prize in the Open Category next season."

Chua almost did a heroic double. No one has won the Audi A5 car for a hole-in-one in the series, and Chua came close - less than two feet away - when his seven-iron shot fell just left of the pin on a windy day at hole seven (162 metres).

He beamed, then lamented: "I have never had an ace in almost 30 years of playing golf. I hit a near-perfect shot and was hoping for the ball to drop near the flag and roll in. Alas, it was yet another miss."

Team Boustead garnered the team honours on countback when Adrian Chu and company scored 109 points from the best three scores to win green fee vouchers from Warren GCC and a bottle of Vueve Cliquout Magnum.

The hefty total also helped Boustead to move up to joint-third with Team Citi in the 12-team rankings, with just one leg remaining, at Tanah Merah Country Club's Garden course on Sept 22.

Team SunMoon, who have mastered the art of player alternates, lead the Open Category with 441 points, five ahead of Tat Hong - The Crane Boomers.

OTHER WINNERS

  • Best Social Player: Kelvin Tan (Audi) 39 points on countback.
  • Best Social Team: TM Rare Cask Rangers, 110 points.
  • Hugo Boss Longest Drive: Eugene Oei (Centurion) 237 metres
  • Nearest To Pin: (hole 11): Toh Ai Ling, 121cm
  • Nearest To Pin (hole 14): Philip Eng, 30cm
  • Drive to the Macallan Flag: Fine Oak 12 years: Marcus Lam, 121cm
  • Drive to the Macallan Flag: Fine Oak 15 years: Chris Chew, 60cm
BT Golf