Singapore's gutsy golfers second again, after injuries and cold
Another sparkling set of performances helped Team Singapore finish second at the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) in Antalya, Turkey on Friday.
The team of five - Ron Totton, Sushminder Singh, Patrick Goh, Willy Teo and Frankie Lim - entered the final round leading the competition by five strokes.
But a combination of illness and injury allowed arch-rivals Malaysia to sneak ahead and win the competition, leaving Singapore to wonder what might have been.
Said team captain S Murali: "I could see the disappointment etched on all their faces after the final round didn't go our way. But I told the team that they had played fantastic golf to put themselves in the top two, and there was nothing to be ashamed about."
In the end, Malaysia won the team competition with a combined total of 851 strokes, seven better than Singapore. Vietnam finished third. A total of 35 teams from all over the world competed in this year's WAGC.
Totton, who played in Division A (handicap 0-5), suffered a freak finger injury prior to the first round, and was unable to grip his club properly in the first two rounds.
Still, the BT Telecoms (South-east Asia) CEO managed to shoot rounds of 78, 73 and 70 to help the team finish second.
Another player to suffer a bad injury was Division E (handicap 20-25) representative Frankie Lim. After carding nett rounds of 69 and 67, Lim slipped and fell on the driving range before his final round after encountering some icy steps at the Lykia Links Course range.
Said teammate Teo, who witnessed the fall: "I had slipped on the same steps just minutes before and tried to warn Frankie, who was walking behind me. But he lost his footing and fell all the way down the steps.
"I really feared the worst because he landed badly. But he insisted he wanted to play for the team despite the pain."
Guts and gumption helped Lim to complete his round on the undulating Links course, where players were not given buggies.
The 45-year-old businessman still shot a nett 77 to finish second overall in his Division.
Teo, who was leading Division D (handicap 16-20) after the second round, endured the full brunt of the cold weather on the final two days and fell ill despite wearing several layers of clothing.
The 51-year-old described his final round of 82 nett as one of the "worst" in his life.
Said the general manager of an electronic components company: "I know I could have played much better but it was one of those days when nothing was going right.
"Still, I had a fantastic experience here and am very proud of how the team played all week."
Teo had the added honour of finishing third in the Gloria New Course Cup, awarded to the best nett scores played on that course during the practice rounds.
Electrical contractor Goh also failed to hit top form in his final round, carding a nett 77 in Division C (handicap 11-15).
Sushminder, who played in the Singapore team that was second overall in 2014, finished strongly with a nett 69 in his final round.
He, too, was disappointed that the Republic failed to go one better this time around.
Said the 45-year-old prisons officer: "We might have put ourselves under too much pressure going into the final round. But there is nothing to be sad about. There are so many countries here and for Singapore to finish in the top two again is a remarkable achievement."