Tan Lee Hong shoots a 77 for Division B joint lead in SPH's world event
Division B joint-leader fires 77 on return to SPH's tough world event
Starting his round from the Serapong back nine, he topped his tee shot at the par-four 13th, found water with his second, and then the bunker with his fourth before two-putting for a triple-bogey.
However, the self-employed Tan Lee Hong recovered superbly to record a five-over 77 to top Division B in the first leg of the SPH World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) qualifiers at Sentosa Golf Club yesterday.
"I got a better feeling of the course and the green speed on the back nine, and my putting got better, which helped me card a better score," said the 44-year-old 9.6-handicap index golfer, who is back for a second bite at the cherry after similarly making the final last year.
"It's a good tournament and it has got better this year in terms of organisation and the goodie bag. It's a nice challenge and it's always good to make more friends.
"I would love to win in the qualifying finals at the Tanah Merah Country Club, where I just got membership last month.
"That makes it my new home ground and I hope to get more practice in before Oct 20.
"Winning really depends on the rhythm on the day and luck is always needed."
Tan and 35 other golfers are through to the qualifying finals, which will be held on Oct 20 at the Tanah Merah's Garden Course.
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 prestigious WAGC in Antalya, Turkey, from Nov 28 to Dec 5.
They will be coached by top local instructor M Balraj before travelling.
The best score of the day belonged to businessman Eng Buck Nguang, an 11.5-handicapper, who shot a three-over 75 in Division C.
The 58-year-old had wanted to take part in last year's competition but had to pass due to business travels.
After carding his best score ever to make the qualifying finals this year, Eng will now have to reschedule his business travels in a bid to represent Singapore in Turkey.
He said: "It's a dream to represent Singapore. If not now, then it will be too late.
"Playing off the white tees instead of the blue helps because the angles and distances are more favourable, and the bunkers are mostly out of play.
"I am also quite used to the faster Serapong greens because I play similar green speeds in the US.
"I spent a lot of time this past month to brush up my game. Three weeks ago, I came here to study the course and shot an 81 from the blue tee. In fact, this is my fourth round this week.
"To win at the qualifying finals, I will have to practise some more."
Another golfer who is in with a shout is Ron Totton, a 1.7-handicapper who shot a 77 to finish joint-top of Division A alongside 0.1-handicapper Desmond Choo.
The 44-year-old managing director of British Telecom Global Services (South East Asia) said: "My intentions coming into this competition are to win.
"The plan for the qualifiers is to get to the final, so I was more conservative and stayed out of trouble.
"I'll be a new member of TMCC next week, so I will come up with a game plan for the qualifying finals."
Limited slots for the second qualifiers on Oct 14 at Serapong are still available.
All participants will receive goodie bags worth almost $800, including a Canon Ixus 160 digital camera worth $169, six months' digital subscriptions for The Business Times and The New Paper, a set of Titleist Velocity golf balls, a Puma golf polo shirt and a Puma cap.
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.
ROUND ONE QUALIFIERS
- DIVISION A (0-5.4)
Desmond Choo (77), Ron Totton (77), Mark Lim (85).
- DIVISION B (5.5-10.4)
Tan Lee Hong (77), Darren Ware (81), Benson Lee (86), Lee Tee Chong (87), Dave Koh (88), Ved Prakash Narayan (92).
- DIVISION C (10.5-15.4)
Eng Buck Nguang (75), Ju Kai Meng (83), Victor Lem (85), Teo Guan Hoe (86), Alvin Woong (86), Lee Soo Liap (89), Ong Kian Keong (89), Ting Hock Guan (92), Stanley Gan (93).
- DIVISION D (15.5-20.4)
Tay Kam Kiang (85), Tan Horng Chiang (86), Willy Teo (90), Wilson Sim (93), Melvin Lim (93), Tan Cheng Peng (96), Jeffrey Goh (99), Frederick Fong (99), Seow Kim Bock (100).
- DIVISION E (20.5-25.4)
Chow Yi Tong (97), Olivier Darrieux (97), Lau Yet Hin (98), Chua Teck Heng (98), Listar Le (100), Tobias Sternbeck (101), Kek Yong Teck (103), Ang Lian Chye (105), Ong Siew Yong (105).