Tan Hopes it’s third Time Lucky in Faldo Series Singapore Championship
Singapore (November 21): Tommy Tan Xuan Hao will have an old score to settle when he tees-off in this week’s Faldo Series Singapore Championship.
For the past two years, the tournament has provoked anguish and disappointment for the Singapore National Development Squad member.
In 2014, Tan led the way in the Singapore qualifier at Jurong Country Club with nine holes remaining. However, he then stumbled with a quadruple-bogey eight at the 10th hole en route to an inward 42 that saw him drop to third.
Last year, he entered the event at Raffles Country Club’s Palm Course as one of the pre-tournament favourites only to come unstuck on the opening day when he ran up an 85 which included a nine at the par-three 12th hole.
Despite a seven-stroke overall improvement on day two, he was never able to force his way into contention, eventually finishing in equal eighth place – and missing out on a trip to Mission Hills Dongguan for the 10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Now aged 16, the highly-rated scratch handicapper is determined to put those setbacks behind him and claim a maiden victory in the event that is the 17th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
Victory would be especially poignant given that the Faldo Series Singapore Championship will be one of the final competitive tournaments at the Jurong course before it closes its doors at the end of the year to make way for the terminus of the new Singapore-Malaysia high-speed rail and a mixed-use development, comprising officer, hotels, retail outlets and residences.
Tan’s task will not be easy with a handful of other national squad players in the starting line-up.
Among them are Donovan Lee Zhi Peng, Brandon Han, Justin Kuk and Desmond Kim, who at the age of 17 won his second Laguna National Golf and Country Club Match Play title last month.
Favourite among the girls is likely to be Erika Layson. Runner-up in the Girls’ Division last year, Layson will be full of confidence after an excellent run that saw her reach the women’s final at last week’s 17th Singapore National Amateur Championship.
All age group winners from the tournament at Jurong will qualify for the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “As we enter the second decade of the Faldo Series Asia, we’re still awaiting the first Grand Final champion from Singapore. Perhaps this will be the year when we get that breakthrough.
“I will be following the scores from Jurong and look forward to spending time with the age group winners in Vietnam in a few months’ time.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.