Vincent victorious at Singapore Open
Underdog wins Singapore Open men's title, after Shayna loses in women's final
He entered the tournament expecting to finish last in the international field.
Yesterday, at the Orchid Bowl at Orchid Country Club, Vincent Lim produced the unthinkable - he won the 47th Singapore Open men's Masters, beating Malaysia's Ahmad Muaz 207-175 in the step-ladder final.
The 33-year-old's victory - the first in his career - was also the first by a Singaporean man since Lee Yu-wen in 2006.
Few had given Lim a chance. After all, he isn't even part of the national set-up.
He quit the Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) in 2002 and ventured into coaching, bowling as a part-timer in various tournaments every year.
But the Singapore contingent rallied behind Lim in the final, after women's favourite Shayna Ng lost to Malaysia's defending champion Sin Li Jane.
Singapore's Kristin Quah and Jaris Goh were third in the women's and men's competitions respectively.
"This is the best I have ever bowled," said Lim, who first competed in the Singapore Open in 1999.
"It's really unbelievable. After Shayna lost, I was more nervous about winning, because I knew I had to salvage some local pride.
"It's great that a Singaporean has finally won the men's title after so long; I just never thought it would be me."
Lim, who spent four years with the SBF before coaching schools, improved his game significantly this year.
He finished second in Thai Open in April, registering several perfect games along the way.
At the Singapore Open, he headed the field after Round 2, with a 246.1 average, to gain top seeding heading into the final.
"Before last year, I always finished last in the Masters of every tournament," Lim said.
"It was a mental block I had. But I spoke to the Philippines head coach, Johnson Cheng, and he really helped me make a breakthrough with that."
Shayna, the women's top seed with a 231 average, lost twice to Sin in the step-ladder final: 258-235 and 223-221.
The Singapore Open continues to elude the 24-year-old, who won the Sportswoman of the Year award last night. She finished third last year.
"I'm getting closer, but it's disappointing because I felt I gave it away today," Ng said.
"In the ninth frame, I went for a strike when I didn't need to, and left a split.
"I've been bowling really well this past week. But that just goes to show that you don't necessarily win when you play your best."
For Sin, a 22-year-old from Ipoh, Singapore continues to be a happy hunting ground. She has now won the Open thrice; her first was in 2010.
"I really don't know what it is about this place, I just always feel good here," she said.
"It would've been nice if Malaysia pulled a men's and women's double.
"But this is fair, I guess. You can't win everything."
Singapore Open final rankings * All Singaporeans unless otherwise stated
1. Vincent Lim
2. Ahmad Muaz (Mas)
3. Jaris Goh
4. Nguyen Thanh Pho (Vie)
5. Zulmazran Zulkifli (Mas)
6. Mika Koivuniemi (Fin)
7. Kenneth Chua (Phi)
8. Kang Bo Long (Mas)
1. Sin Li Jane (Mas)
2. Shayna Ng
3. Kristin Quah
4. Lara Posadas (Phi)
5. Joey Yeo
6. Cherie Tan
7. Krishna Darshini
8. Shalin Zulkifli (Mas)