Golf: New father Quek top among locals

Quincy Quek of Singapore places the ball on the putting green at the eighth hole during the Opening round of the SMBC Singapore Open on Jan 19, 2017.
Quincy Quek of Singapore places the ball on the putting green at the eighth hole during the Opening round of the SMBC Singapore Open on Jan 19, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

He became a father for the first time a few days ago and entered the SMBC Singapore Open deprived of sleep.

But yesterday, Quincy Quek displayed no signs of fatigue as he finished as the top Singaporean golfer in the incomplete first round of the US$1 million (S$1.43 million) event after carding a three-under 68.

There are 11 Singaporeans in the 156-player field.

In fact, he topped the leader board at four-under when he sank a birdie on the par-five 18th.

Quek, who teed off at the 10th hole, also birdied the par-four 11th, the par-four 16th and the par-three 17th. But on his back nine, he hit two bogeys and a birdie .

He was tied for 11th with 12 other players before play was halted due to fading light. Hideto Tanihara and Satoshi Kodaira of Japan and Kang Kyung Nam of South Korea all shot a six-under 65 to take the clubhouse lead.

Quek admitted that even though his body was at the Sentosa Golf Club, his mind kept wandering home as he kept wondering about his daughter Olivia, who was born last Saturday at 3.06pm.

While he worried whether the infant was feeding and sleeping well, he composed himself to shoot well at the Serapong Course.

He said : "Before this responsibility of being a father came, in a way, my life was all about golf. But golf is the least of my worries right now. I'm looking forward to seeing her smile... those precious moments.

"I haven't slept much since she was born, so I've lost track of time."

The new addition to his family has also made him more relaxed on the course.

He said: "Coming into an event without any expectation is sometimes not a bad thing. In previous Singapore Opens, you're constantly thinking of the week as you gear up for it. Sometimes you tend to hype things up a little bit too much."

His best finish at the event was joint-33rd in 2007 as an amateur. He was the top Singaporean last year, finishing tied for 49th.

The 29-year-old said: "I played pretty solid overall, making a few 10-footers and par saves. The round could have gotten away from me. But I managed to keep my head in the game."

Fellow Singaporean Mardan Mamat was on four-over with two holes left to complete his first round, while compatriot Lam Chih Bing recorded a three-over 74.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'New father Quek top among locals'. Print Edition | Subscribe