Golf: Hadi clinches hat-trick of wins at Singapore Pro Series Invitational

Pro golfer Abdul Hadi Uda Thith will pocket $12,300 in total prize money. PHOTO: AAC

SINGAPORE - Momentum is everything in sports, especially amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and pro golfer Abdul Hadi Uda Thith is riding it.

The 26-year-old Singaporean clinched his third consecutive victory in the FTAG Singapore Pro Series Invitational after he shot a five-under 66 in Thursday's (Jan 6) second round for a winning total of eight-under 134.

Overnight leader Jesse Yap scored 70 for a 137 total to finish second at the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course, while local amateur Ryan Ang (68) was third after carding a total of 138.

Hadi, who turned pro in 2018, will pocket $12,300 in total prize money, in addition to $3,000 for hitting the highest number of birdies (61) across the eight legs. He also won $10,000 for topping the Order of Merit.

With his latest victory in the final leg of the series - he also won the sixth and seventh legs in August - Hadi is hoping to carry that winning momentum into the next two weeks as he tries to secure an Asian Tour card.

He said: "It's my hard work paying off. I've been working hard on my game, my swing, my putting, my mental game and it's nice to see it pay off in the last three legs of this series. I was just trying to apply what I worked on when I practised and it came out good.

"It's definitely a confidence booster playing well in Serapong for the last three legs especially, but I just have to not think of what's at stake and just keep doing what I'm doing.

"The biggest thing would be to have two solid weeks and hopefully get my Asian Tour card. That's the biggest thing."

Before this event, Hadi and a few other local golfers spent time in the United States to try and qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour, the developmental series for the US PGA Tour.

While he was unsuccessful, Hadi said his time in the US was a good experience as the competition there was tougher and allowed him to improve mentally.

Comparing his reaction to hitting a bad shot in the past and now, he explained: "(In the past) I would be distracted, it may go on, I may get distracted for a few holes.

"But now I'm getting better at letting it go quickly and quickly focusing on the next shot. That's been my biggest improvement for 2021.

"When those kinds of thoughts come I just try to recognise it as quickly as possible and just shift my thoughts towards somewhere more productive."

The eight-legged Singapore pro series kicked off its inaugural season last March after a year-long pandemic-induced hiatus to provide golfers with more competition opportunities during the pandemic. In each leg, touring male and female pros and leading national amateurs competed for a $10,600 prize fund.

The tournament will followed by two back-to-back events here: the US$1 million (S$1.35 million) Singapore International at the Tanah Merah Country Club from Jan 13-16 and the US$1.25 million Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club from Jan 20-23.

The two events will mark the close of the 2020-21 Asian Tour season, which resumed at the end of November after a 20-month hiatus caused by Covid-19.

Hadi and other top Singapore golfers like Yap, Gregory Foo, Koh Dengshan and Choo Tze Huang will compete in both tournaments.

Yap, 29, is hoping to finish in the top 10 on home soil.

He said: "If I can finish in the top five or top three one of the weeks, that would be huge. (I'm) just trying not to put too much pressure on myself and just try to take it one shot at a time.

"It's unfortunate that fans can't be out there because I'm sure they would love to go out and watch the golf. I think for us definitely we are very grateful to have these two events and have the opportunities to play."

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