Tough time and weather ahead for Team Singapore
S'pore's WAGC representatives acclimatise to the conditions and courses ahead of the competition
Team Singapore will not just have to beat golfers from more than 40 countries if they are to win the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) team event, they will also have to conquer the tough weather conditions in Durban, South Africa.
The golfers who will fly the Republic's flag are Erwyn Lam (Division A 0-5.4 handicap index), Melvin Choo (Division B 5.5-10.4), Clara Ang (Division C 10.5-15.4), Colin Tan (Division D 15.5-20.4) and Lee Kian (Division E 20.5-25.4).
After arriving in Durban two days ago, the quintet have gone through practice at the Durban, Victoria and Kloof Country Clubs before the first round tees off today.
Lee, who played at Kloof, said: "The natural elements in South Africa now are totally different from Asia.
"I found it hard to manage the weather - it was cold, foggy and wet.
"I did not make any par for my first nine holes in the practice round.
"Because of the chilly weather, I felt cold and hungry.
"The shoulders and back muscles stiffen easily. I had to use deep heat after I got back to the hotel and I may have to use painkillers to cope.
"Although it was raining lightly, I could not see beyond 50 metres due to the fog, which eventually cleared.
"The course at Kloof is rough, with uneven grass conditions.
"And the greens are pretty fast.
"I also had to deal with muddy bunkers and soggy fairways. The mud often sticks to the golf balls.
"But it was a good experience that I needed to prepare for the actual tournament."
Choo and Lam practised on the Durban course.
They feel that fitness will play a big part in determining success on what Choo believes is "the most challenging of the courses".
He said: "The hills on the course are known as the elephant hills.
"After a long flight, it took a while to get going.
"But we are glad we have two days and practice rounds to get ready."
Lam added: "It is a course that deserves a lot of respect.
"The greens were tricky."
Meanwhile, Tan and Ang found more joy playing at Victoria.
Ang said it was fun to putt on the greens of what seemed like a straightforward course.
Tan added: "I'm glad to play at Victoria with flight mates from Slovakia, Slovenia and South Africa.
"All of us happened to be in Division D, so it was a good opportunity to judge each other's level.
"I returned with an 88, beating the others from my flight, which is a great morale-booster for the upcoming competition."
The natural elements in South Africa now are totally different from Asia. I found it hard to manage the weather — it was cold, foggy and wet.
— Lee Kian on the conditions at Kloof Country Clubs in Durban, Singapore