Five golfers earn spots in WAGC World Finals
Certified pilot is first woman winner at SPH world golf event
The SPH Golf World Amateur Golf Championships (WAGC) provided a certified pilot a runway back to competitive golf.
And boy did Clara Ang soar at the Finals at the Tanah Merah Country Club's Tampines course yesterday.
The 26-year-old, an adjunct lecturer looking to land a full-time commercial pilot gig, became the first female winner in the tournament presented by Centurion, who owns The Dalat at 1200 Country Club & Private Estate in Vietnam, when she topped Division C (10.5-15.4) with a 10-over 82 score.
Along with the winners of the four other divisions, Ang will represent Singapore at the WAGC in Durban, South Africa, from Oct 22-29.
The former national golfer, who plays off a 14.4 handicap index, told The New Paper: "After I went to Michigan for graduate school, I focused more on research, graduate work and flying.
"I realised I love flying more than golf and, after returning to Singapore in 2011, I was no longer a member of Seletar Country Club, so I stopped playing altogether.
"But I realised how much I missed golf and the competition, and this tournament gave me the chance to make a comeback.
"I'm very excited to represent Singapore again and to be the first Singaporean woman to play at the WAGC is pretty cool.
"I didn't think that an 82 would be good enough to win and I didn't know that it would be so difficult to get back to competition form.
"I can still improve in terms of my mental game, because that's what killed me on the back nine as I shot seven-over there.
"To do well in Durban, I need more competitive games and I hope to simulate that type of pressure when I play more league games at Changi Golf Club, even if that's match-play."
The WAGC in Durban offers different handicap divisions for golfers of varying abilities and is into its 22nd edition this year.
Team Singapore will play two practice rounds and four tournament rounds, where they will compete for the team title as well as individual honours in their respective handicap divisions. They finished second in the past two years.
The SPH Golf WAGC is the national qualifier for the WAGC tournament and it began with two qualifying rounds last month at the Tampines Course.
It attracted about 200 golfers over the two rounds, with the top 30 per cent playing in yesterday's Finals.
The other winners were Erwyn Lam (Division A 0-5.4 handicap index), Melvin Choo (Division B 5.5-10.4), Colin Tan (Division D 15.5-20.4) and Lee Kian (Division E 20.5-25.4).
Interestingly, Lam, who is also a former national athlete, was a fellow Seletar Country Club junior alongside Ang.
The 27-year-old analyst used to be a flanker for the Singapore Under-20 rugby team and it was clear from the banter he shared with Ang that he is pleased to have a familiar face with him in Durban.
After winning Division A with an eight-over 80, the 1.6-handicap index player said: "It feels amazing to win and to be able to represent Singapore again ranks up there with my other sporting achievements.
"It will be a unique experience to compete with Clara because the Seletar juniors were a tight-knit bunch and it feels good to get back together again.
"My game was a little erratic today because of insufficient practice and it will be a challenge to find time to play more as I've just started on my new job.
"But we are definitely going there to give our all. I don't think losing is in our blood. We want to represent Singapore with pride and show the world what we are capable of."
FINAL ROUND: THE TOP 3 GOLFERS ACROSS FIVE DIVISIONS
DIV A (0-5.4 HANDICAP)
- Erwyn Lam: 80
- Samir Bedi: 83
- Natasha Wong: 87
DIV B (5.5-10.4)
- Melvin Choo: 71
- Yeap Chee Leong: 76 ocb
- Billy Lee: 76
DIV C (10.5-15.4)
- Clara Ang: 82
- Khok Chee Kok: 83 ocb
- Yeo Bee Kheng: 83
DIV D (15.5-20.4)
- Colin Tan: 89
- Willy Teo: 90
- Richard Hoo: 93
DIV E (20.5-25.4)
- Lee Kian: 91
- Anthony Yap: 92
- Peter Tan: 94