Golf: Rising Gavin Green hungry for more success

Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Gavin Green will be hoping to make his mark at the Singapore Open starting on Thursday (Jan 18).
Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Gavin Green will be hoping to make his mark at the Singapore Open starting on Thursday (Jan 18).ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - One of Gavin Green's earliest memories of golf was 16 years ago, when he used his Chinese New Year hongbao to buy himself a junior set of clubs.

Now a professional golfer, the 24-year-old has come a long way - from becoming the first amateur to win on the Asian Development Tour in 2014 to winning his first Asian Tour title and becoming the first Malaysian to lift the Asian Tour Order of Merit title last year.

And Green, who earned US$585,813 (S$774,796) last season and whose sponsors include Maybank and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, is hungry for more.

He told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Jan 16): "I feel like finishing first last year was a huge deal as I could elevate my game and experience different courses. It just gave me the opportunity to improve.

"In golf you always want to win as much as you can and do as well as you can. I'm still young - I'm just trying to get better every day."

This quest for improvement has remained constant throughout Green's career, and will be key after his results last term. He posted three runner-up finishes before winning his maiden Asian Tour silverware at the Taiwan Masters in October.

"Goals change but coming to events it's always been the same, I've always wanted to win every event and do my best," said Green, whose idol growing up was Tiger Woods. "I think what's more important is consistency and I'm just trying to be consistent this year and finish top or close to the top."

In town for this week's SMBC Singapore Open, Green believes his success over the past year has aided in his development. At last year's edition, Green was second at the halfway mark but fell out of contention after a third-round 82.

"That's another learning point - being able to handle pressure and I think I've handled it pretty well so far," the world No. 183 added.

"I'm better equipped now for sure and (the Serapong course) suits me pretty well as I don't have to hit drivers off the tee all the time, I can hit my longer irons into the fairways."

His goals for the year include breaking into the top 100 of the world rankings and winning a European Tour event, as well as improving his long iron game and sharpening his putting.

The business management graduate from the University of Mexico is confident of achieving these goals, but added: "A lot of it also has to do with the process, which is the hard work, the gym work, nutrition... everything from sleeping right to practising right."