Singapore's WAGC golfer gets a birthday present
Eric Tan claims Division B title after bouncing back from second day's slip-up
Amateur golfer Eric Tan received a birthday present - an individual title - at the World Amateur Golf Championships (WAGC) last Friday.
The director of an offshore oil and gas company, who turned 40 last Saturday, was representing Team Singapore in Division B (5.5-10.4 handicap index).
He emerged victorious with a 288 nett total, nine strokes ahead of Vietnamese runner-up Duc Lan Vu, after a four-day tournament across four courses in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tan had led with a nett score of 72 on the first day, before slipping to third the next day with a 75. He bounced back to reclaim the top spot by carding a 73 on the third day, before sealing the title with his best score of 67 on the final day at The Mines Resort and Country Club.
CONCENTRATION WAS KEY
Said Tan, who was playing off a handicap of 7: "The second day was the worst, but I reminded myself that a bad start doesn't mean a bad end.
"So I pulled myself back into the game and regained the momentum. Even after the third day, I was leading by only two strokes. It was on the last day that I started off well for the first few holes and pulled myself apart from my competitors.
"Once I increased the gap between myself and the rest, it went smoothly for me."
Asked about his biggest takeaway, he said: "Concentration was a key factor in my game and this tournament definitely strengthened my mentality.
"No matter what external factors are affecting our games, we have to keep focused.
"Take it stroke by stroke, because you can't control your opponents or the system.
"The only thing that you can control is yourself and how you want to approach the game."
Team Singapore's Division A (0-5.4) representative, Samir Bedi, also did well by finishing second runner-up in his category.
The 40-year-old, who plays off a 4.7 handicap index, said: "It was tough competition and the two guys who beat me were much younger in their early 20s.
"Both of them are looking to turn pro and they played really well, so I'm happy to finish third."
Bedi, whose wife and 16-month-old daughter were in KL to support him, also reserved special mention for the team's sponsors for their professional equipment and contributions.
After returning to Singapore, he plans to introduce golf to his toddler daughter.
He said: "My family was a great source of support in KL, so my post-tournament celebration is to buy a plastic golf set for my daughter and help her hit some balls around the house."
Entering this year's WAGC as defending champions, Team Singapore suffered from a change in course system and handicap discrepancies, which saw them finish fourth.
Each country's best four individual scores for each round were used to compute the team scores.
Last year's runners-up Vietnam won the team title this year, while Indonesia came in second, ahead of third-placed Slovenia by one stroke.
Team Singapore captain Jacqueline Wu said that Indonesia's second-placed finish came at their expense.
She said: "We were initially leading, but the Indonesian team argued about their scores because apparently, they were playing off a lower handicap.
"So that resulted in Indonesia cutting a lot of strokes, which meant that Singapore's strokes increased. It affected a lot of players of higher handicaps, not just our team.
"The WAGC organising committee should really step up and take responsibility to prevent unpleasant things like these from recurring."
Despite being hit by changes during the tournament, Wu feels that the quintet of Samir Bedi, Eric Tan, 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) had performed well.
"The Singapore qualifier system selected very good players to represent our country, and the team definitely did well and finished a creditable fourth position.
"The players went through a lot, but everyone gave of their best, played well and contributed to the team."