Singapore’s finest claim spots in national Open

Singapore number one Mardan Mamat will be joined by 10 countrymen in the local assault on the SMBC Singapore Open later this month.

Veteran Mardan has qualified for the elite field thanks to his victory in last year’s Bashundhara Bangladesh Open on the Asian Tour while the Singapore Professional Golfers’ Association has been handed six spots and four amateurs will represent the Singapore Golf Association.

Singapore PGA members Lam Chih Bing (pictured), who made a thrilling run at the title in 2008, Koh Deng Shan, Quincy Quek, Mitchell Slorach, Johnson Poh and Jerome Ng will be joined by leading amateurs Gregory Foo, James Leow, Abdul Hadi and Joshua Ho at Sentosa Golf Club from January 28-31.

World number one Jordan Spieth of the United States, who started 2016 with a bang by winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, fellow Major winners Darren Clarke and Y. E, Yang and Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson will be joined by the best of the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour at the 50th staging of the iconic tournament.

Although no local player has won their national Open, Lam gave home fans plenty to cheer about in 2008 when he upstaged several greats of the game over the first three rounds.

Lam was placed second going into the final round, a shot clear of Major winners Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, before fading down the stretch and finishing joint 18th.

Mardan, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour who finished 17th on the Order of Merit in 2015, made the country proud in 2006 when he lifted the European Tour co-sanctioned Singapore Masters and his victory in Bangladesh last year proved that he can still mix it with the best aged 48.

Quek, an event winner on the Asian Development Tour, has good memories of the Singapore Open having been top amateur in the 2007 tournament, finishing a creditable 33rd.

Foo, Ho and Hadi are all members of the national amateur team and will gain valuable experience by teeing it up with the pros at the SMBC Singapore Open.

The trio played in the Nomura Cup last year where they finished fourth. It was Singapore’s best result in what is one of the region’s most prestigious amateur team championships.

Foo and Ho qualified for the SMBC Singapore Open, having won the Singapore Open and Closed Amateur Championships respectively.

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