S'pore top in world amateur golf event

(From left) Lee Kian, Colin Tan, Clara Ang, Melvin Choo and Erwyn Lam flying Singapore's flag in Durban. They won the World Amateur Golfers Championship team event in South Africa by 27 strokes.
(From left) Lee Kian, Colin Tan, Clara Ang, Melvin Choo and Erwyn Lam flying Singapore's flag in Durban. They won the World Amateur Golfers Championship team event in South Africa by 27 strokes.PHOTO COURTESY OF JACQUELINE WU

Five amateur golfers from Singapore can now call themselves world champions, as a team effort helped them win the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) team event in Durban, South Africa, on Friday.

The quintet of Erwyn Lam (Division A, 0-5.4 handicap index), Melvin Choo (Division B, 5.5-10.4), Clara Ang (Division C, 10.5-15.4), Colin Tan (Division D, 15.5-20.4) and Lee Kian (Division E, 20.5-25.4) combined for a nett score of 1,121 after four rounds. They beat Vietnam by 27 strokes.

Each country's best four individual scores for each round were used to compute the team scores.

Into its 22nd edition this year, the WAGC offers different handicap divisions for golfers of varying abilities.

Singapore finished second in the team event in the past two years.

Even though they had a commanding 18-shot lead over Vietnam after three rounds, the final round on Friday was not always that straightforward for the Singaporean golfers.

The Republic's representatives in the lower handicap categories - Lam, Choo and Ang - returned with their worst rounds in the tournament after carding nett scores of 77, 80 and 74 respectively.

However, Tan and Lee stepped up with rounds of 66 and 69 respectively to secure the team title.

Tan, 49, whose nett score of 66 at Victoria Country Club was his best round of the trip as he finished second in his division with a 289 nett total, said: "I'm overjoyed with my score. After a disappointing round a day earlier to drop to sixth in my category, I was determined to make up for it and fight my way back into the top three.

"While I was very focused, I also constantly reminded myself to relax and enjoy the final round," added the executive director of a company. "Good individual scores also help to anchor the team at the top of the leaderboard, and I'm happy to have played my part."

There was more joy for Singapore as Lam and Lee picked up individual honours by winning their individual categories.

The team was selected after the SPH Golf World Amateur Golfers Championship, which acted as the qualifiers.

SPH Golf general manager Murali Subramaniam said: "Having finished second in the last two years, it is a fantastic feeling to have our team finally emerge as world champions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 30, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore top in world amateur golf event'. Print Edition | Subscribe