Remembering the ups and down on tour

Lam Chih Bing with wife Sophie and son Tian Lei, after winning his first, and only, Asian Tour title - the Volvo Masters of Asia - in Bangkok in December 2008.
Lam Chih Bing with wife Sophie and son Tian Lei, after winning his first, and only, Asian Tour title - the Volvo Masters of Asia - in Bangkok in December 2008.PHOTO: ASIAN TOUR

Lam Chih Bing turns 40 today. He looks back on the highs and lows of his 17-year golfing career.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT

Winning the (season-ending US$750,000) 2008 Volvo Masters of Asia, which was the biggest victory of my career. That and playing in three British Opens (making the cut in 2008) and five World Cups.

BEST ROUND

I've shot 64 five times but the final round (five-under) 67 at the 2008 Volvo Masters of Asia (Thai Country Club) stands out. It was the easiest 67 I've ever managed. I didn't make a single mistake that day and won by two strokes.

WORST ROUND

My final round at the 2008 Singapore Open (Sentosa Golf Club). I was in the final flight and in with a chance to win the tournament but shot 79 (eight over) and finished tied-18th. Who knows how different my life would have been had I won that day.

BEST PLAYER I'VE PLAYED WITH

It's a toss-up between Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.

Phil's my favourite player and watching him up close, the way he controls the ball, going after every pin, that was special. Rory's power off the tee was also very impressive.

BEST SHOT FROM ANOTHER PLAYER I'VE SEEN

Every one of Rory's drives during the 2011 World Cup. He just hit the ball so far.

We (Mardan Mamat and Lam represented Singapore) were paired with Ireland (McIlroy and Graeme McDowell) for the first round.

WHAT I'LL MISS THE MOST

The friendships I've developed over the years with Anthony Kang, Unho Park and Angelo Que. We've been in this business together for a long time.

WORST GOLF OUTFIT ON COURSE

There been quite a few (chuckles). For a while, I wore bell-bottom pants which were bright and loud and some really odd colour combinations.

HARDEST THING PEOPLE DON'T REALISE ABOUT BEING A PRO

The effort it takes to prepare for a tournament. On average, I would spend about 50 hours a week, practising at the range, on the course, going to the gym. It's a lot of work. You can't just show up and expect to play well.

FAVOURITE GOLF COURSE

The Old Course at St Andrews. I played the 2009 Dunhill Links Championship there. It's the home of golf and just a special course.

WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

The 2006 World Cup was in Barbados and I had to fly through Tokyo, Chicago and Miami to get there. The airline lost my luggage (I only got it back a month later) but thankfully not my golf bag. I had to borrow and buy clothes during the tournament.

ADVICE TO YOUNG SINGAPOREAN GOLFERS

You have to love this game and be willing to work very hard to become the best player you can be. It's not an easy journey but it can be very rewarding.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2016, with the headline 'Remembering the ups and down on tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe