Singapore Roars Into the Lead

Fri 28 Aug 2009

Singapore Roars Into the Lead


Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, August 28: Singapore and the Philippines took a closer step towards the Omega Mission Hills World Cup after Friday's fourball but the third and final slot in the Asian Qualifier was poised for a slugfest with four teams in the hunt.

Mardan Mamat and Lam Chih Bing, chasing their fourth World Cup appearance, showed their class with a nine-under-par 62 at Seri Selangor Golf Club to propel Singapore to the top of the leaderboard for the first time this week.

The Filipino combination of Mars Pucay and Angelo Que shot a 66 to fall one shot back of the new leaders but they have a seven-shot cushion from Malaysia's Danny Chia and Iain Steel, Hong Kong's David Freeman and Wong Woon Man and the Myanmar team of Zaw Moe and Soe Kyaw.

The home nation fought their way back into the World Cup reckoning with a 65, a score matched by Zaw and Soe. The unheralded Freeman and Wong, both chasing a dream World Cup appearance, was disappointed with their 67.

Pakistan's Muhammad Shabbir and Muhammad Munir also carded a 65 to stay one shot behind the three teams and set up a nerve-jangling finish tomorrow.

Lam, winner of the Volvo Masters of Asia on the Asian Tour last season, tipped his cap to Mardan, who contributed seven birdies including a long range effort at the 18th hole which gave them a 16-under-par 197 total.

"All I had to do today was sit back, relax and watch my partner perform. He was awesome," said Lam. "But it's a four day tournament, not a three day tournament. We still have to go out tomorrow to get the job done."

Mardan, a two-time winner in Asia, said: "Both of us played well. We came here to finish in the top three and we are playing very well so far. We'll have to keep our momentum going. We have played together for so long and we are comfortable with each other. Being relaxed out there helps a lot.

"On the last hole, my partner hit it to one foot from the bunker and there was no pressure on me. I just picked out a line and rolled it in. It was quite a long putt."

Pucay and Que, top-10 at last year's World Cup in China, started with a bogey on the second hole but bounced back on the inward nine, coming home in 31 despite a second dropped shot at the challenging 18th hole.

"All in all, we are happy especially coming into the last few holes where we birdied four of the seven holes which was good except for the bogey on the last," said Que, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

"We are happy with a seven shot cushion over third place. If we keep playing how we are playing, we will be okay for tomorrow. We won't think about protecting our score (in the final round foursomes) but will stick to our game plan which is to hit fairways and greens and try to two-putt at every hole."

The Malaysians, chasing a first World Cup appearance in eight years, needed a huge par putt save from Steel at the last hole to stay in tied third place. "It was pretty big so that we can play in the second last group," said Steel, who is trying to make his first World Cup appearance in five attempts.

Chia said: "We're happy with what we shot as it put us in a good position. We are not striking the ball that well but hopefully we can play better tomorrow."

The unheralded Hong Kong team kept up their dream run but Freeman was disappointed they did not capitalize on their numerous birdie chances. "It was a little bit disappointing as we left way too many shots on the golf course. Realistically, we could have been eight or nine under but didn't make any putts. I had 13 or 14 chances from decent range but made only one. But Wong made a big par save for us at the last which could make a big difference tomorrow."

Wong, last year's Hong Kong PGA number one, said his partner, who plies his trade as a teaching professional, carried the team in the better ball format. "I didn't play well but David kept us in the hunt. He's playing better as the week goes on. It'll be great if we can qualify for the World Cup but we'll take it one step at a time."

Zaw is also chasing for a first World Cup appearance and reckons that an under-par round the tougher alternate shot format on Saturday will get them to China. "We played well except for a few mistakes but overall our game was good. The Philippines and Singapore seem to be running away with the top two positions so we will have to fight for the final slot," said Zaw.

Third round scores

197 - Singapore (LAM Chih Bing, Mardan MAMAT) 64-71-62

198 - Philippines Mars PUCAY, Angelo QUE) 60-72-66

205 - Malaysia (Danny CHIA, Iain STEEL) 66-74-65, Hong Kong (David FREEMAN, WONG Woon Man) 66-72-67, Myanmar (Zaw MOE, Soe Kyaw NAING) 67-73-65

206 - Pakistan (Muhammad SHABBIR, Muhammad MUNIR) 68-73-65

212 - Bangladesh (Milon AHMED, Siddikur RAHMAN) 69-74-69

215 - Sri Lanka (Lalith KUMARA, Anura ROHANA) 70-77-68

218 - Indonesia (Maan NASIM, SARMILIH) 69-77-72

219 - Nigeria (Christian UTUBOR, Edet UMOH) 70-80-69

228 - Brunei (Faiz DAMIT, Pengiran HASSANAL) 74-77-77

230 - Ghana (Theophilus KODJO, Emos KORBLAH) 74-81,-75

240 - Mauritius (Rajesh MOHUN, Jocelyn SAVRIMOOTOO) 77-89-74

241 - Nepal (Ramesh NAGARKOTI, Pashupati SHARMA) 82-84-75

Note: The first and third rounds will use the fourball format while the second and final rounds will use the foursomes format.

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.