No stopping Bedi this time
Golfer avenges last year's loss by clinching SPH Golf WAGC Division A title
A new-look team will be defending Singapore's title at the World Amateur Golf Championships (WAGC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Nov 18-25.
At the SPH Golf WAGC Finals on Tuesday, Samir Bedi (Division A, 0-5.4 handicap index), Eric Tan (Division B, 5.5-10.4), Danny Ong (Division C, 10.5-15.4), Gan Siat Yean (Division D, 15.5-20.4) and Ong Siew Yong (Division E, 20.5-25) triumphed in their respective divisions at Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) Island Course to book their slots in the annual competition.
For Bedi, his win was especially sweet.
At last year's SPH Golf WAGC Finals, Samir finished runner-up, missing out on the title by three strokes.
On Tuesday, he carded an impressive 76 to beat eventual runner-up Pankaj Mohan and win the Division A crown.
The 40-year-old, who plays off a 4.7 handicap index, told The New Paper: "I vowed to come back stronger after the runner-up finish last year, and I'm happy that I was able to do so.
"I felt the adrenalin flowing throughout the day of the Finals, but I was able to calm my nerves and eventually got across the line.
"I feel ecstatic with the opportunity to finally represent Singapore. This is a wonderful Deepavali gift for me and my family."
The SPH Golf WAGC is the national qualifier for the WAGC tournament. It began with two qualifying rounds, which started on Oct 3 at SICC.
The WAGC, which offers different handicap divisions for golfers of varying abilities, is into its 23rd edition.
Team Singapore will play two practice rounds and four tournament rounds in KL, where they will compete for the team title as well as individual honours in their respective handicap divisions.
Last year, Singapore clinched the WAGC team title in Durban, South Africa, with a score of 1,121, beating Vietnam by 27 strokes.
However, this year's representatives are not putting any pressure on themselves to retain the title.
Division D winner Gan said: "For golf, you need to enjoy the game before you can compete. If you don't enjoy it, the game will never be good.
"Emotions play a huge part in golf, and while about 60 per cent of the game requires skill, the other 40 per cent is dependent on your emotions.
"That is what makes the difference and can even determine your place in the game."
Agreeing with his teammate, Samir added: "They say 90 per cent of golf is mental, and the remaining 10 per cent is between your ears, so it's all in the mind.
"Looking at how we're already bonding, and how much fun we're having, I don't see any reason why we can't perform as a team.
"As long as we inspire each other and feed ourselves in terms of playing what we can, then that's what matters most."
"But then again, we're all dependent on Danny the superstar to take us forward in KL," Bedi added jokingly, referring to Division C winner Ong, whose score of 76 was similar to his winning effort in Division A.
The tournament attracted about 85 golfers over the two rounds, with 32 players playing in Tuesday's Finals.
Jacqueline Wu, creative director of SPH Golf, said: "This year's SPH Golf WAGC Singapore qualifiers involved a relatively small group, but we've seen many good players within this group and we have selected yet another strong team to represent Singapore.
"I'm confident that this year's Team Singapore will be able to do us proud and defend the championship in KL."