They light up his day at WAGC
Amateur golfer qualifies for WAGC national finals with help from flightmates and marshals
Due to inclement weather, the first leg of the World Amateur Golf Championships (WAGC) SPH Golf Singapore qualifiers experienced three rain delays on Tuesday.
It was already pitch dark by the time all 43 golfers returned to Singapore Island Country Club's Island Course clubhouse at about 8pm.
But camaraderie and sportsmanship shone through for Simon Karvell, who made it to the national finals on Oct 17 with a healthy dose of help from flightmates Tay Lay Hian, Vikarna Chaudri and Ong Say Teong, as well as the course marshals.
The 44-year-old property executive, who plays off a 17.6 handicap index, said: "It was really awesome of my flightmates, who decided to forgo the last three holes as it was dark, but still hung around to support me."
Into its 23nd edition this year, the WAGC offers different handicap divisions for golfers of varying abilities.
The two Singapore qualifiers - the next will be held on Monday - will be played across five divisions based on a golfer's handicap index: 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) before the Oct 17 finals. The winner of each division will then go on to represent Singapore at the WAGC Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Nov 18 to 25.
Karvell, who topped Division D with a 10-over 82, added: "The marshals were great too, they used their (golf) buggy headlights to illuminate the course, while my flightmates also switched on their handphone flashlights.
"It was like a mini-Chingay out there. I have played golf since I was 15 and I have never experienced anything like this, it was definitely very sporting of them and I'm grateful to all of them.
It was like a mini-Chingay out there. I have played golf since I was 15 and I have never experienced anything like this.Simon Karvell on his flightmates and course marshals using mobile phone torches and golf buggy headlights to help him finish his round in the dark
"Thanks to their efforts, I did not lose a ball, and I guess now I have to push myself to the end and make it to the WAGC Finals to repay their help.
"In any case, I already feel like a winner having made wonderful new friends like them."
Tay played down his contribution in Karvell's qualification, but agreed with his flightmate's sentiments.
The 52-year-old education officer said: "I felt there was some form of danger playing in the dark, so I decided to stop.
"But rules are rules and, to qualify, you have to return a complete scorecard.
"We decided at that time that Simon was the better golfer who stood the best chance among us to qualify, so we might as well help him. After all, we want the best (golfers) to represent Singapore at the WAGC Finals.
"Golf is such an interesting game and, in that few hours, we became good friends. This episode is something we will remember for a long time."
Karvell, who is also an SPH Golf member, is also hoping to go all the way as a tribute to his manager and mentor Robert M Guna, who is currently in intensive care.
He said: "I had stopped playing golf for quite a few years but, despite him not being a golfer, he was the one who encouraged me to stay in the game and sign up for this competition.
"I visited him on the morning of the qualifiers and he was on my mind throughout the round.
"It's sad that he is in hospital now, but I will do my best to go as far as I can to give him a reason to smile."
QUALIFIERS FOR NATIONAL FINALS
Division A: Samir Bedi
Division B: Tan Lee Hong, Eric Tan, Lin Maung Thaw
Division C: Ting Hock Guan, Danny Ong, Idris Aziz, Ibrahim Jupri, Charles Yap
Division D: Simon Karvell, Willy Teo, Lee Poh Hoe, Tay Jam Chin
Division E: Ong Siew Yong, Low Kay San