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Ali Kasim
Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

Sports

A golfer's dream

The New Paper | Ali Kasim | Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

Ready For Action: Golfing coach M Balraj (above, left) with students Kyle Ang (centre) and Sharon Park (right) who will be competing in the SPH World Golfers Championship.

SINGAPORE - She achieved a hole-in-one last week at the Orchid Country Club.

And Sharon Park is dreaming of repeating the feat at the Sentosa Golf Club next month, when she tees off at the SPH World Golfers Championship.

If lightning does strike twice for her, Park stands to win a Lotus Evora worth $250,000 (before COE) - the tournament's hole-in-one prize.

The SPH World Golfers Championship is the national qualifier for November's World Golfers Championship in Durban, South Africa.

Two qualifying rounds will be held on Sept 23 and 29 at Sentosa's Tanjong Course, followed by the national finals on Oct 7 at Serapong Course.

Park, a Singapore resident of South Korean descent, has signed up for the qualifiers simply for the experience of playing at the highly-regarded Sentosa Golf Club.

"I don't know if I'm good enough to make it (to the world championship), but I hope to qualify for the finals at least, and play at the Serapong Course," said Park, who has a handicap index of 20.5.

Each round will comprise up to 144 male and female golfers across five handicaps: 0-5.4, 5.5-10.4, 10.5-15.4, 15.5-20.4 and 20.5-25.4.

DIRECT ENTRY

The top 80 qualifiers will advance to the finals, where they will be joined by 40 others through direct entry.

The winners of each handicap group will fly the Singapore flag in Durban from Nov 1 to 8, where they will play two practice rounds and four tournament rounds.

Park's coach, M Balraj, who will also coach the Singapore team before the world championship, has been encouraging many of his students to join the tournament.

"They will gain really good experience playing in the event, because it's a tournament with a big field," he told The New Paper.

"It will also be good for them to get a feel of the Tanjong and Serapong courses, which are challenging, championship courses."

The 52-year-old, who has been coaching since 1993, gave tips for amateurs playing at Sentosa for the first time.

He said: "Club selection is important, because when you hit off the white tee at Serapong, you can't really use the driver.

"There are many hazards along they way, so you need to make controlled shots with the right club."

The winners of the Singapore finals will be attired by sponsors such as Titleist and Footjoy, and all participants will receive a one-year all-in-one print and digital subscription to The New Paper, a box of Titleist Velocity golf balls and other attractive gifts worth more than $300.

FAQ on the SPH World Golfers C'ship

If I pay $488 for one qualifier, do I have to pay any more for the finals, or for the trip to South Africa?

No. The $488 entitles you to your qualifying round at Sentosa's Tanjong Course, plus a goodie bag worth more than $300. And the top 80 qualifiers will play in the final at Serapong for free.

Every person who enters the qualifiers has an almost 40 per cent chance of playing Serapong for free. And the five winners will not have to pay for their trip to South Africa.

How old do I have to be to enter the tournament? Is it open to men and women?

All participants must be at least 14 to enter. Anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if they reach the world finals in South Africa.

Men and women compete against each other in the various handicap categories. Men will play off the white tees and women off the red tees.

How will the winners be decided at the qualifiers and the national final?

The tournament format will be similar to that played at the World Golf Championship and the qualifiers and final will be played in a shotgun format.

It will be a strokeplay event based on gross scores; individual handicaps are used only to place players in their respective categories.

For example, a 6 handicap index player shoots 80. Another player in his same category (5.5-10.4), an 8 handicap index player shoots 81. The 6 handicap index player is the winner based on gross score.

WHAT: SPH World Golfers Championship

WHERE: Sentosa Golf Club

WHEN: Sept 23 and 29

HOW MUCH: Entry fee for the SPH World Golfers Championship Qualifiers is $588, with an early bird price of $488.

Those who wish to play in the national finals directly need to pay $1,288, with limited slots available. To register, go to www.tnp.sg/wgc

aakasim@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Aug 28, 2014.
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