School sports

Donovan to Hong Kah's fore

Donovan Lee of Hong Kah Secondary tees off on his way to winning the National B Division golf championship held at the Marina Bay Golf Course. This was his second triumph at the national schools level, having won the National Primary Schools Champion
Donovan Lee of Hong Kah Secondary tees off on his way to winning the National B Division golf championship held at the Marina Bay Golf Course. This was his second triumph at the national schools level, having won the National Primary Schools Championship in 2012.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

School's only golfer wins its first B Division golf title after two past runner-up finishes

For years Hong Kah Secondary School has taken pride in its footballing achievements and national titles but it was a sport that does not even exist as a co-curricular activity in the school that took centre-stage yesterday.

Not only did golfer Donovan Lee's victory in the National B Division tournament come in dramatic fashion, but it was also the first schools golf title for Hong Kah.

The Secondary 4 student closed with a two-under-par 68 for a 138 total at the Marina Bay Golf Course (MBGC). It was matched by Singapore Sports School duo Andre Chong (69) and defending champion Tommy Tan (72) but Donovan won on countback.

It was vindication for an emotional Donovan, 15, who had finished runner-up in the last two years.

He said: "Being second all those times gave me more mental strength and pushed me to somehow win the championship.

"There's no point in being second as no one remembers who they are - they only know who came in first."

  • Schools' golf: List of winners

  • BOYS' A DIV

    1 Desmond Kim (Anglo-Chinese Junior College)
    2 Nicholas Mok (Singapore Sports School)
    3 Ryan Ang (Hwa Chong Institution)

    B DIV

    1 Donovan Lee (Hong Kah Secondary School)
    2 Andre Chong (SSP)
    3 Tommy Tan (SSP)

    C DIV

    1 Brandon Han (St Gabriel's Secondary School)
    2 Gabriel Yap (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent))
    3 Sean Lee (ACS(I))

    GIRLS' A DIV

    1 Callista Chen (SSP)
    2 Atienza Margiel (Anderson Junior College)
    3 Sarah Tan (Raffles Institution)

    B DIV

    1 Jezreel Tang (Methodist Girls' School)
    2 Erika Layson (Nanyang Girls' High School)
    3 Ou Yang Hua (Orchid Park Secondary School)

    C DIV

    1 Rachel Maswi (MGS)
    2
    Margaret Fernandez (Whitley Secondary School)
    3 Vanessa Chua (NYGH)

The 2.2-handicapper averages 250m off the tee and employed a different strategy during his final round. He said: "I knew I was trailing so I had to be more aggressive. On the first day I laid up on all three par-fives but I went for the green today and made birdies on all of them."

Donovan's win will also do wonders for Hong Kah, noted its senior Physical Education teacher Ng Han Liat, who was the school's sole representative at MBGC.

He said: "By and large, Hong Kah are always known as a school that produces footballers. Now we can tell people that we also have good golfers.

"Donovan wanted the title but he didn't let the pressure of it come on him, especially having come close two times in a row.

"He used the experience from the past two years to stay calm and play a very steady game."

As the lone golfer representing his school, Donovan's journey to the top has been a challenging one.

He said: "My school doesn't have a proper golf programme or even a training ground, so I have to find my own means.

"A disadvantage I face is that I don't get to train as much as the Sports School players."

There are no team-mates to lean on for support either. Donovan shuttles between Warren Golf and Country Club and Sentosa Golf Club, and practices three to four times, averaging about 12 hours each week split between the driving range and course.

He picked up the game at nine but began to take it seriously only after he won at the National Primary Schools Championships in 2012.

He said: "That was my first big win and after that I really wanted to do well in golf."

A second national title may have taken four years but this win has been equally sweet for Donovan.

He added: "I'm very honoured that I could do my school proud. It's (winning the golf title) something special, and no one has done before - I'm quite lucky."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2016, with the headline 'Donovan to Hong Kah's fore'. Print Edition | Subscribe