Golf: Singaporean golfers in confident mood before Asia-Pac c'ship

Gregory Foo, the Republic's top amateur golfer, winning the Singapore Open Amateur Championship in July. He is eyeing a top-five result at the Royal Wellington Golf Club.
Gregory Foo, the Republic's top amateur golfer, winning the Singapore Open Amateur Championship in July. He is eyeing a top-five result at the Royal Wellington Golf Club.PHOTO: THARM SOOK WAI

There is nothing quite like winning to send an athlete's confidence soaring. Climb the mountain once, and suddenly you feel like you can do it again.

Having won a historic SEA Games team gold in August, golfers Gregory Foo, Joshua Shou and Joshua Ho are in a buoyant mood as they prepare for this month's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) in New Zealand.

The winner of the prestigious event earns a coveted spot at next year's US Masters and, for the first time, direct entry into the British Open. The runner-up receives a place in the British Open Qualifying Series.

Foo, who tied for 15th in last year's edition in South Korea and is eyeing at least a top-five result at the Royal Wellington Golf Club, said: "I definitely think I'm playing well enough now for that to be within reach."

He is the country's top-ranked amateur at No. 78 and has enjoyed a stellar 2017, winning the Vietnam Amateur Open in June and the Singapore Open Amateur Championship in July.

Shou is undaunted about the prospect of facing the region's top amateurs at the Oct 26-29 event.

"If I have a chance to win on the last day, I feel like I have the game to go for it," said the 27-year-old.

Jesse Yap, Abdul Hadi and Low Wee Jin complete the six-man team. The Republic's best performance at the AAC came in 2010, when Choo Tze Huang tied for seventh in Japan.

New Zealand will be new territory for Ho and his team-mates, with the cooler weather not something they normally experience.

The 23-year-old Ho said: "We played during the winter in Australia last year (during a national squad training camp) in tougher conditions, so that should help."

Marc Ong, the last member of the SEA Games title-winning quartet, is not playing in the AAC but will turn out for Singapore at next month's Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship in Malaysia.

The AAC, into its ninth year, has traditionally been a showcase for the region's most promising talent. World No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama of Japan won it twice in 2010 and 2011, the latter victory coming at the Singapore Island Country Club.

The AAC returns to Singapore next year and will be held at the Sentosa Golf Club's Tanjong Course next October.

As hosts, Singapore will be able to field 10 players, but Shou will not be among them as he is turning pro early next year.

"It may be a bit bittersweet for me, going into my last AAC because I've been an amateur for a while," he said. "But also I think it's about time I turned pro, and I'm really looking forward to that next step."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 15, 2017, with the headline 'Golfers in confident mood before Asia-Pac c'ship'. Print Edition | Subscribe