Golf: Deja vu as Singapore are runners-up again

Murdaya Widyawimarta Poo, president of the Indonesia Golf Association, with the Singapore men's golf team in Jakarta. They finished second to Thailand in the Putra Cup for the second year running.
Murdaya Widyawimarta Poo, president of the Indonesia Golf Association, with the Singapore men's golf team in Jakarta. They finished second to Thailand in the Putra Cup for the second year running.PHOTO: SINGAPORE GOLF ASSOCIATION

Thailand overcome a three-shot deficit to lift the Putra Cup, reminiscent of last year's win

There was a sense of deja vu for Singapore yesterday at the Gading Raya Padang Golf and Club in Jakarta, after the men's team squandered their lead going into the final round of the Putra Cup to finish second to Thailand.

The trio of Gregory Foo (one-under 71, 270), Marc Ong (69, 270) and Joshua Ho (71, 272) had led Thailand by three shots but faltered. Their total of 812 was five adrift of Thailand's 807.

SEA Games individual champion Kosuke Hamamoto fired a closing 67 to claim the individual Putra Cup title with a 264 aggregate.

Compatriot Sadom Kaewkanjana (67) was second on 266 followed by Foo and Ong in joint-third. Defending champion Kammalas Namuangruk's 65 meant he finished tied-10th on 281 but the team gold will temper his disappointment.

"The truth is I didn't play well , I wasn't sharp with my iron play," said Foo, 24. "There's no specific hole I blew, but I didn't hole any long putts for birdies and didn't hit shots close enough to the hole."

He, Ong and Ho held a five-shot lead in last year's edition at the Tanah Merah Country Club, but were overtaken by the Thais who eventually triumphed by three strokes.

OUR BEST SHOT

I would grade the team's performance as an A, but the Thais were an A+.

ANDREW WELSFORD , national golf coach, feels his charges gave it their all.

The trio, along with team-mate Joshua Shou (72, 284 and joint-16th) had gained some measure of revenge at last month's SEA Games where they pipped Thailand to the gold.

Said Ong, 21: "The whole team and coaches knew winning the Cup was the goal, we really wanted to win it.

"After three days we were strong, but just like last year, we only fell behind on the last day."

Foo added: "The Thais played very good golf today and they deserved it. Kosuke played good golf and I couldn't play on the same level as him."

There were plenty of positives to take from this performance, though, noted national coach Andrew Welsford.

Three of his golfers recorded their lowest score in relation to par. Foo and Ong were 18 under while Ho was 16 under. Their combined 52 under was a personal best as a team as well.

Welsford, 46, said: "I believe falter is not the right word in sports as our team played their lowest tournament records, which is much better than last year.

"We clearly got outplayed by a Thai team who were on A form today. I would grade the team's performance as an A, but the Thais were an A+."

The Australian added that regular overseas stints were crucial in raising the levels of Singapore golf.

"We will keep moving forward and have some lofty goals ahead before we call this year a success. We all believe that our best is in front of us."

Singapore will next compete in November's Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship in Malaysia. The biennial competition saw them finish fourth in 2015. Japan were crowned victors.

Ong said: "The field is going to be strong and finishing in the top three will be decent. That's a good goal but we want to win."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Deja vu as S'pore are runners-up again'. Print Edition | Subscribe