Low's Sentosa gets AAC's nod
Regional amateur championship returns to S'pore for first time since 2011
Low Teo Ping is the president of Sentosa Golf Club (SGC), and it is no surprise he is proud of the island venue.
And he minced no words when he said the club's world-class golf course was the primary reason the 10th edition of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships (AAC) will land there in 2018.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Low said: "The organisers were looking at a world-class golf course to host the competition and we happen to have a golf course like that.
"Since our golf course has hosted big events like the Singapore Open and the HSBC Women's Champions, the organisers know of the quality of our courses."
While the first round of action at the eighth AAC got underway in Incheon, Korea yesterday, the organisers revealed that Singapore would host the event in 2018 at the SGC.
This will be the first time Singapore is hosting the tournament since 2011, when Japan's Hideki Matsuyama bagged the top prize at the Singapore Island Country Club.
Regarded as one of the most prestigious amateur competitions in the world, participants are selected based on the number of qualifying points accumulated.
The qualifying points are earned by competing in events across the world.
The winner of the AAC will earn an invitation to the US Masters at Augusta National the following year.
The winner and runner-up will also earn spots in the qualifying series for The British Open the following year (the 2019 Open will be held at Royal Birkdale).
The 2018 AAC will be played at The New Tanjong Course at SGC from Oct 4 to 7 and it will be free entry.
The par-72 course is in the final stages of redevelopment and is expected to be completed next month.
According to Low, 71, the course, which has been redeveloped to the tune of $32 million, will demand a higher level of play.
"The course will be more challenging and it will demand the best of the players' skills. The AAC will be a platform to pick out the amateurs who are heroes-in-the-making from everywhere in the region.
"Hopefully this event will attract more young men in Singapore to participate, especially since it is being held on their home ground."
Established in 2009 by Augusta National Golf Club and The R&A, which is golf's ruling authority except in the United States and Mexico, hosting of the AAC is rotated around clubs in this region and is currently being staged at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon.
Singapore's representatives are Jesse Yap, Joshua Ho, Gregory Foo and James Leow.
Ross Tan, president of the Singapore Golf Association, believes this will be an opportunity to further develop the sport.
Said Tan: "After seeing the 2011 AAC bring more people to the game of golf in Singapore, we are thrilled to welcome back this special championship.
"We look forward to building upon the development of the game in years to come by supporting the AAC and its continued impact on golf in the Asia-Pacific."
In January, the prestigious Golf Digest ranked SGC's Serapong Course No. 58 in the world.
Low's vision is for SGC to reach the standard of Augusta National, and hopes that the 2018 AAC will provide an opportunity to step up.
He said: "We want to align ourselves with Augusta in time to come. It's a world-class, premier golf club."