Golf: Gregory Foo beats rain and SEA Games-bound rivals to win S'pore Open Amateur C'ship

Singapore’s Gregory Foo playing in the Putra Cup at the Tanah Merah Country Club’s Garden Course on Sept 8, 2016.
Singapore’s Gregory Foo playing in the Putra Cup at the Tanah Merah Country Club’s Garden Course on Sept 8, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - National golfer Gregory Foo enjoyed a perfect warm-up for next month's SEA Games by winning the Singapore Open Amateur Championship on Friday (July 14).

The 23-year-old emerged top of a 106-strong field that included several Games-bound golfers like Thailand's Kosuke Hamamoto and Malaysia's Ervin Chang and Galven Green.

Foo, who plays off a 3.9 handicap, held a six-stroke lead over Chang going into Friday's fourth and final round at the par-72 Singapore Island Country Club's New Course.

He had extended his advantage to seven shots through 10 holes before the tournament was halted due to inclement weather.

The round was eventually cancelled due to the rain and the first 54 holes was used instead. Foo finished on 12-under 204 (69, 66, 69), six clear of Chang. Hamamoto was a further shot behind.

Foo, who won the competition in 2015, becomes the first Singaporean to win the event twice since its first edition in 1948.

With the win, Foo also earns a coveted spot at next year's US$1 million (S$1.37 million) SMBC Singapore Open, an Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour co-sanctioned tournament held at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Foo said he believes that the victory has boosted his confidence as he attempts to win gold at the Aug 19-30 Games in Kuala Lumpur.

He said: "Things are shaping up well for the SEA Games, I've gained confidence in my game, and this is a tangible result to back it up.

"I definitely see myself as one of the gold medal contenders."

His regional rivals believe that Foo will be the one to beat at the biennial Games.

Thai-Japanese Hamamoto noted: "He is one of the top South-east Asian players right now, and he is one of the favourites to win the SEA Games.

"I can see that he is a better player now, and he has improved a lot on his mental game over the past few months."

Samson Gimson was the last and only Singaporean to win a SEA Games golf title, coincidentally at the 1989 edition in Kuala Lumpur.