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Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Sports

Getting wind of Durban's conditions

The New Paper | Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

(From left) Tan Horng Chiang, David Seow, Sushminder Singh, Ko Yeo and Cody Lim and golf instructor M Balraj

Master the winds in Durban, and Team Singapore could have a fighting chance of winning at the World Golfers Championship (WGC) in South Africa from Nov 1 to 8.

After winning the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) WGC Finals at Sentosa's Serapong Course on Oct 7, the quintet of Cody Lim (0-5.4 handicap), Sushminder Singh (5.5-10.4), Ko Yeo (10.5-15.4), Tan Horng Chiang (15.5-20.4) and David Seow (20.5-25.4) will represent the Republic in South Africa.

Yesterday evening, M Balraj, one of Singapore's top golf instructors, met them at the Orchid Country Club to give them a few pointers. Top on his list was some advice on the weather conditions.

He said: "The courses will be at coastal areas where it will be windy. The greens are firmer when the wind blows because they dry fast.

"When you hit the ball high, you have less control of how the wind carries the ball. This is why you have to keep the ball lower so it doesn't run too much."

His "students" keenly took his advice on board and practised their iron shots and chipping accordingly.

Seow, 29, who is in the banking industry and plays off a 20-handicap, said: "He gave us some tips on how to play low balls without changing too much of our set-ups.

TEAM

"I want to be playing better by the time we get to South Africa and, hopefully, we can win something as a team."

Tan Horng Chiang, a 57-year-old army supplies proprietor playing off a 16.5-handicap, added: "I learnt to change my holding grip in order to play less fade and a slight draw.

"The new grip feels very good. It's easier to swing through and it gives me more confidence."

Team Singapore also went through a round of ball-fitting, where they could pick between two dozens of either the Titleist Pr V1 or Pro V1x balls, the best-performing balls used on the US PGA Tour.

They will also be kitted in FootJoy (FJ), who will provide half a dozen gloves, performance golf shirts, golf socks, FJ belts and a pair of DNA golf shoes.

Vanessa Heng, marketing and communications manager for Titleist South-east Asia, said: "This is a great opportunity for us to connect with serious golfers in Singapore. For those who are already using our equipment, they can experience our latest equipment.

"SPH has done a great job in organising the SPH-WGC, which provides golfers who are serious about their golf a chance to compete in a level playing field.

"There is a strong synergy and we are happy to be providing equipment for the team representing Singapore in South Africa." Balraj is confident that the team will do well if they continue to be in top physical and mental shape.

He said: "They have to be fit physically and mentally because I don't think any of them has the experience of playing for six straight days.

"They need to work out, even the lower half of their body, to keep their clubs in control.

"From what I saw, the team are very good. For starters, they are all very keen.

"All of them are here today and they are willing to accept the ideas that I've suggested to improve their games."

davidlee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 21, 2014.
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