Golf: Team title the main target during Putra Cup on home soil

(From left) Joshua Shou, Gregory Foo, Marc Ong and Joshua Ho will represent Singapore in the 56th Putra Cup which starts today to Friday. The team were runners-up to Thailand last year with Foo winning the individual trophy.
(From left) Joshua Shou, Gregory Foo, Marc Ong and Joshua Ho will represent Singapore in the 56th Putra Cup which starts today to Friday. The team were runners-up to Thailand last year with Foo winning the individual trophy.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

S'pore golfers hope their familiarity of the course is an edge as they bid to win as a team

He may be the defending Putra Cup individual champion, but Gregory Foo is willing to give that up if it means securing the team title for Singapore.

Ahead of the 56th edition of the regional amateur golf tournament which starts today at the Tanah Merah Country Club's Garden Course, Singapore's top-ranked amateur golfer said: "If I had to choose between the individual or team title, I'll definitely pick the team championship. That's more important.

"It's been five years since we've last won the team title, and to win it on home ground will be very special. It'll be something that we hold very dear to us in our hearts."

In the 55-year history of the Putra Cup, Singapore have won the team championship only five times. Their last triumph came in Hong Kong in 2011.

The Republic, who finished runners-up to hosts Thailand last year, have also won the individual title six times.

KNOWLEDGE IS KEY

It's all going to boil down to who's going to hold the most putts.

GREGORY FOO, Putra Cup individual champion, on the Garden Course.

This time, Foo also feels home advantage will be a key factor.

"Knowing the greens well and where the pins are definitely helps. In this golf course, it's all going to boil down to who's going to hold the most putts," said the 23-year-old.

"We've spent the last six weeks on the course and we feel very comfortable playing there. Hopefully, that would give us the edge over the foreign teams who may not be too familiar on the greens here."

Singapore last hosted the Putra Cup eight years ago, and on that occasion, they came out on top as team champions.

Foo aside, the home team's Putra Cup line-up includes Marc Ong, 21, Joshua Shou, 26, and Joshua Ho, 22.

Besides Singapore and reigning team champions Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Hong Kong will also field four-man teams in the Sept 6-9 competition.

And everyone is wary of the Thais. Excluding new addition Napong Sriparsit, the trio of Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng, Kammalas Namuangruk and Sadom Kaewkanjana were all part of last year's triumphant Putra Cup team in Khon Kaen.

Ong said: "All four of their golfers are exceptionally good, which means they're going to be tougher to beat as a team.

"But if we put in consistently good performances over the four rounds, we can be on par with them and it'll come down to the final day where we'll see who wants to win it more."

National coach Andrew Welsford also added: "I believe our golfers are just as talented as them.

"There's no such thing as a weaker golfer in our line-up and anyone can really make a challenge for the individual trophy from our bunch. The key is to push one another on, round by round, and remember to play for the team.

"In golf, home advantage is a real big plus and we have to capitalise on it. I fancy our chances and I've set the boys the target to clinch both the individual and team trophies.

"Anything lesser will be deemed as a failure."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'Team title the main target on home soil'. Print Edition | Subscribe