Golf: Singapore clinch Putra Cup double, set sights on SEA Games gold

Singapore's victorious Putra Cup team (from left) Donovan Lee, Justin Kuk, national coach Matt Ballard, Low Wee Jin and Nicklaus Chiam. The success is a confidence-booster for the SEA Games in the Philippines at the end of the year.
Singapore's victorious Putra Cup team (from left) Donovan Lee, Justin Kuk, national coach Matt Ballard, Low Wee Jin and Nicklaus Chiam. The success is a confidence-booster for the SEA Games in the Philippines at the end of the year.PHOTO: SINGAPORE GOLF ASSOCIATION

Golfers handle the pressure to clinch the team and individual golds; now aiming for SEA Games

Holding a single-stroke overnight lead, the Singapore quartet of Nicklaus Chiam, Donovan Lee, Justin Kuk and Low Wee Jin held their nerve yesterday to capture the team title at golf's Putra Cup.

They finished a combined 12-under 852 at the Heron Lake Golf Course in Hanoi, two clear of Thailand (854), with Malaysia a distant third on 863. Hosts Vietnam finished eighth and last on 939.

It was the Republic's first team gold at South-east Asia's premier amateur tournament since 2011.

To make it a double celebration, Chiam, 24, also clinched the individual honours, joining the likes of Mardan Mamat (1993), Choo Tze Huang (2006 and 2011), Quincy Quek (2007), Jonathan Woo (2012) and Gregory Foo (2015).

Chiam closed with an even-par 72 for a 13-under 275, six shots ahead of Thais Denwit David Boriboonsub (68) and Waris Manthorn (71) and Indonesia's Naraajie E. Ramadhan Putra (71).

Chiam said: "It was stressful but we kept talking to each other, giving each other motivation and laughing it out.

"We enjoyed ourselves and had fun with our teammates and even our flight mates. That lessened the pressure on us."

LET'S DO IT AGAIN

It's a good start, right direction to bring back a gold medal. Greg and the rest have set the right path and it's our duty to continue it."

LOW WEE JIN , Singapore 's Putra Cup captain, on retaining their SEA Games gold medal in the Philippines at the end of the year.

Despite the memorable victory, he and his teammates were not getting ahead of themselves as they have identified certain areas to work on.

Captain Low, 26, said: "The whole team played good but there's lots to improve on.

"Scoring wise, we can all do better. We came all together as a team, but we should make fewer mistakes and try to be perfect.

"Even if it may not be possible, we always strive for that."

The Putra Cup win will be a confidence boost ahead of this year's SEA Games in the Philippines, where Singapore are aiming to retain their men's team title.

At the 2017 Games in Kuala Lumpur, the foursome of Gregory Foo, Marc Ong, Joshua Shou and Joshua Ho secured a historic gold for Singapore. It was the country's first golf title at the biennial Games since 1989.

Only Ho has remained an amateur, with the other three joining the professional ranks.

Low, 26, said: "It's a good start, right direction to bring back a gold medal. Greg and the rest have set the right path and it's our duty to continue it."

This new team can emulate their predecessors, said Singapore Golf Association vice-president and chairman of training and selection committee Lyn Sen.

She added: "I'm thrilled that they have brought back the Cup and individual title. We now work towards defending our SEA Games gold in November."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 28, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore's Putra Cup double'. Print Edition | Subscribe