Golf: Mardan Mamat’s Olympic hopes fading following poor form

Mardan Mamat in his practice round for the Thailand Classic, where he missed the cut by four shots. He did not make the weekend cut in half his events this year - hence his struggles in Olympic qualification.
Mardan Mamat in his practice round for the Thailand Classic, where he missed the cut by four shots. He did not make the weekend cut in half his events this year - hence his struggles in Olympic qualification. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Time and opportunities are running out for Mardan Mamat as his Olympic dream hangs in the balance.

The veteran golfer has been struggling with his game in recent months and his world ranking has also dropped, thereby jeopardising his chances of qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games in August.

Mardan ended last year as world No. 329 but has since fallen to No. 394. It means he is no longer on the International Golf Federation's (IGF) Olympic Ranking list (as at May 31).

Only the top 60 players are guaranteed a spot at the Summer Games when the sport returns to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.

Mardan, 48, is currently the third alternative behind world No. 382 Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and No. 385 Nino Bertasio of Italy.

TOUGH RUN

I'm disappointed with my game this year. It's not reached the level I know I can be at. Four cuts from eight starts is not good.

MARDAN MAMAT, Singapore golfer, on his recent performances.

The IGF table is calculated based on world ranking points. National Olympic committees are limited to two entries each - and up to four if all are in the top 15 of the IGF's list. This ensures less established golfing countries are represented.

The Singaporean has only two Asian Tour tournaments (the June 16-19 Queen's Cup in Thailand and June 30-July 3 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taiwan) to improve his ranking before the Olympic qualifying window closes on July 11.

Mardan said: "I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. Qualifying for the Olympics and representing Singapore is very important for me. I hope to do well in the next two events and make the cut."

The five-time Asian Tour winner's form this season has been poor. He has missed the cut in half of his eight starts and his best performance was eighth in February's Perth International. That was also his sole top-10 finish this term.

Since then, he has alternated between playing all four rounds and missing the weekend.

Mardan, whose iron play is usually a strength but is ranked 121st for greens in regulation this year, admitted that inconsistency has plagued him on the fairways.

"I'm disappointed with my game this year. It's not reached the level I know I can be at. Four cuts from eight starts is not good."

While he might be entering the twilight of his career, he is still capable of producing highlights, as evidenced by three wins since 2012.

Mardan has five appearances in the international team event World Cup of Golf and is keen to represent the Republic on an even bigger stage in Rio.

The Aug 11-14 strokeplay tournament will boast a world-class field that includes Jason Day (Australia), Jordan Spieth (United States) and Rory McIlroy (Ireland), the top three golfers in the world.

Mardan said: "I've spent the last few weeks practising hard and hopefully there will be improvement and I can get some good results. Playing in the Olympics will be a great achievement for me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2016, with the headline 'Mardan's Olympic hopes fading following poor form'. Print Edition | Subscribe