Golf: It's one final hurrah for Lam

Lam Chih Bing will be looking to give the more illustrious names competing at the Singapore Open a run for their money when he takes to the fairways at the Sentosa Golf Club.
Lam Chih Bing will be looking to give the more illustrious names competing at the Singapore Open a run for their money when he takes to the fairways at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Singapore golfer to make last outing at home Open with hopes of reliving 2008 memories

He has played in every edition of the Singapore Open since 1996, and despite already calling it a day as a professional golfer, Lam Chih Bing will extend that run one last time.

The 40-year-old has confirmed his participation at the upcoming US$1 million (S$1.43 million) SMBC Singapore Open.

It will be his first Asian Tour event in almost nine months, after last April's Panasonic Open in Japan. The last tournament he played in was October's Singapore Professional Golfers' Association (SPGA) President's Cup, the final event on the domestic four-stop circuit.

Lam's spot in the Jan 19-22 tournament, sponsored by Japanese bank SMBC, was secured after he finished second on last year's SPGA Order of Merit - behind winner Quincy Quek and ahead of third-placed Marc Kawasoe.

As host, Singapore can nominate six local professionals to compete at the Sentosa Golf Club. Besides Lam and Quek, the Republic will also be represented by Koh Dengshan, Mitchell Slorach and Johnson Poh by virtue of their rankings on the Asian Development Tour.

  • 1996

  • Lam Chih Bing has been an ever-present at the Singapore Open since 1996. The Singapore golfer came closest to winning the title back in 2008.

Singapore's No. 1 player Mardan Mamat qualifies for the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation co-sanctioned event based on his top-65 ranking on the Asian Tour.

Lam, who turned pro in 1999 but has been working full-time as an energy derivatives broker since June last year, still plays regularly at Singapore Island Country Club and Laguna National, and retains his competitive nature.

He told The Straits Times: "Even though I have been working full time these past months, I still play every weekend and go to the range regularly during the week.

"I just need to polish my short game these coming weeks and work on the mental part of competing."

The tournament also holds powerful memories for Lam. He was in prime position to win the 2008 edition - no Singaporean has ever won the Singapore Open - as he headed into the final round of the tournament, then worth US$5 million, in joint-second place and three shots off the lead.

However, he stumbled to an eight-over-par 79 and ended up joint-18th, as Jeev Milkha Singh triumphed at the Serapong Course.

Lam felt he still had the game to compete against a strong Singapore Open field including world No. 7 Adam Scott, No. 13 Sergio Garcia and four-time Major winner Ernie Els.

Said Lam, who has won one Asian Tour title in his career: "I will not be touring full time to make a living but if I can maintain my game to a certain level, it would be nice to be able to go out and compete and hopefully give the boys a run for their money."

•Tickets (from $20) are sold at smbcsingaporeopen.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'It's one final hurrah for Lam'. Print Edition | Subscribe