Amateur golfers' chance at world stage
FOR most amateur golfers, achieving glory on an international stage is but a dream.
Many would be happy just winning a friendly wager against a flightmate and collecting their winnings at the 19th hole.
But, now, five golfers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent Singapore in the World Golfers Amateur Championship (WGC) in November.
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is organising the SPH World Amateur Golfers Championship, a tournament which will act as the national qualifier for the Nov 1-8 finals in Durban, South Africa.
Unlike most amateur events, the WGC tournament has different handicap levels, thus giving male and female golfers of all abilities the rare chance to represent their country in a prestigious global event. The women will play off the red tee.
Two qualifying rounds will be held on Sept 23 and Sept 29 at Sentosa Golf Club's Tanjong course. The national finals will take place on Oct 7 at the championship Serapong course.
Each round will comprise up to 144 golfers across five handicaps: 0-5.4, 5.5-10.4, 10.5-15.4, 15.5-20.4 and 20.5-25.4.
The top 80 qualifiers will advance to the national finals, where they will be joined by 40 others on a direct entry. The winners of each handicap group will fly the Republic's flag at the WGC in Durban.
Besides contesting the individual honours within their handicap categories, national teams also compete for the World Team title.
Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division, said: "SPH is happy to organise this golf tournament for amateurs of all skill levels.
"They will have the rare opportunity to represent Singapore in a major international tournament and pit themselves against other winning teams from around the world. Plus, they will get to play on some of the finest courses in South Africa."
The golfers will play six rounds on courses such as those at the Durban Country Club and Umhlali Country Club.
S. Murali, deputy editor of The New Paper, said the golfers will receive some coaching from one of Singapore's top trainers, M. Balraj, ahead of the finals.
The team will also be kitted out by sponsors such as Titleist and Footjoy.
He added: "We want the team to be in the best shape possible to have a go at winning the tournament, to bring honour to Singapore."