National golfer Gregory Foo's nerves were threatening to derail his dreams of a maiden Singapore Open Amateur Championship title yesterday but a stunning charge on the back-nine paved the way for an ultimately comfortable win.
The 21-year-old closed with a two-under 68 for a 275 total at the Singapore Island Country Club's Island Course. He finished seven shots clear of the trio of Thailand's Kousuke Hamamoto (71), Foo's compatriot Lucius Toh (72) and Malaysian Paul San (73).
Foo had started the final round with a two-shot lead over San but an outward one-over 36 allowed fourth-placed Hamamoto, who managed a 32, to draw level.
The Singaporean's response was emphatic, as he produced two sublime shots with his 56 degree wedge on the 10th and 12th holes - both short par-fours - to set up tap-in birdies and regain the lead.
"Those two birdies got my confidence back and the momentum really helped me go forward from there," said Foo, who is a student.
"I think I've matured a lot as a player in the past few years so I was able to handle myself well mentally in that situation."
This was only the fourth time in the past two decades when a Singaporean has claimed this event, with Joshua Shou winning in 2012.
Said Foo: "I wanted to win this event quite badly so I am very glad I was able to pull it off."
His victory also earns him a spot in next year's US$1 million (S$1.37 million) SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club from Jan 28-31.
Thailand's Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng and Hamamoto topped the team event with a score of 425 - followed by James Leow and Shou (429), and Marc Ong and Foo (431).