It has been almost a decade since Gan Shian donned national colours as a junior golfer for Singapore.
Yet, the 27-year-old will be the surprise representative for the Republic in the MercedesTrophy World Final in Germany next week.
The Oct 4-7 Stableford tournament in Stuttgart is by invitation and open only to amateur golfers who own Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
It brings together 96 participants from more than 30 countries. There are three divisions based on the golfer's handicap and an overall Nations Cup award across all divisions for the best-performing team.
As a youth player, Gan competed in regional tournaments, and had harboured dreams of turning professional before choosing a more conventional path.
Now a securities finance trader, he plays off a five handicap at his home course, Seletar Country Club, and still possesses that competitive streak. In June, he scored 43 points (Stableford format) in the qualifying event at Jurong Country Club to emerge top among 91 players.
Last month, he edged out six other Singaporeans at the Asian finals in Australia to book his spot at the World Final. He said: "Winning that was definitely unexpected. I tried not to think of the score and I would pray for the shots to go my way before taking every shot. I'm really excited for Germany."
Gan has since increased his trips to the gym in preparation for the world event. He said: "Golf nowadays does involve strength and stamina. Courses have been extended and you have to maintain your level for a four-day tournament."
The picturesque Golfanlage Schloss Nippenburg course, designed by two-time Major champion Bernhard Langer and site of the German Open from 1995 to 1997, awaits Gan. He averages 280m off the tee, but he feels he is up for the challenge.
He might have a pilot's licence and enjoys fast cars but making birdies and par-saving putts still get his heart pumping.
He said: "The pressure and the adrenaline kicks in no matter what you're doing when you want to win something, so I do feel that rush even when I play golf as well."