By Lorna Campbell
Andrew Welsford (in red), Zaw Moe and Choo Tze Huang share a joke on the course. (Photo courtesy of organisers)
Keppel Club, Friday, August 1, 2008 – The ABN Amro Classic came to a nail-biting conclusion last Friday with amateur Choo Tze Huang taking the trophy only one shot ahead of overnight leader Andrew Welsford.
After the announcement of his victory Choo Tze Huang said, "It has been a good week for me. I've had a few lucky breaks along the way and my confidence grew today after a birdie on the 8th.”
"I have played here a lot since I was a junior. This is my home course but wherever you play, if you don't hit the right shots then you can't win. I am just lucky that I played well over the final two days and I got ahead of the pros."
Welsford who finished second overall and took the prize money as top professional was very happy with his surprise victory this week. He said, "I've just joined the SPGA but I've been a professional for 15 years and after this win I am looking forward to playing a bit more golf.”
"I've been in Singapore for two and a half years and have been playing a lot of golf with Lam Chih Bing whom I coach. I had to try and stay in front of him and Zaw Moe, whom I also coach, this week and there will be a few comments going back and forth after today."
Commenting on the star of the ABN AMRO Classic, "I played with Choo today and he played really well. It was a good to see him win on his old home course."
"I enjoyed playing with him. We didn't talk too much over the last few holes as we both knew we had a chance but he is a really nice guy who deserved the victory today. It is great for him to come back here and shine."
What's next for Andrew Welsford? "My teaching schedule is quite busy but the next thing I will probably focus on is qualifying for the Singapore Open and also the final leg of the OAAG Golf Tour," he concluded.
Today's result went down to the wire with Welsford ahead at the turn but Choo pulled it back and went two under for the back nine to complete the three rounds at four under par (212). Welsford ended one behind and third place went to Poh Eng Wah with two under for the tournament.
Ricky Yeo, OAAG Golf Tour’s Manager said, "We have had a great week at Keppel Club and I would like to congratulate Choo Tze Huang on a fantastic final round today."
He continued, "It is great to have a new champion on OAAG Golf Tour and we are now looking forward to our season-ending event to see if we will have another new champion on the Tour."
Lam Chih Bing, winner of two legs of the OAAG Golf Tour, finished with a final round of 72 and tied for eighth place.
Lam said, "This was good preparation this week for the second half of my season so I am feeling good.”
"It is not easy to win a tournament and I feel very lucky that I have won two of the OAAG Golf Tour events. These events are great for local golf and if my schedule works around the final leg then I will definitely be playing."
As well as recognising the top three professionals, the top two seniors, Poh Eing Cheong and Lim Swee Wah, and the two best placed amateurs, Huang and Mitchell Slorach, were also given special trophies to reward their achievements.
Once again, the amateurs have performed well and they are relishing the opportunity to play in these local professional events.
The ABN Amro Classic Champion Choo said, "OAAG Golf Tour is great. Having more people supporting local professionals is encouraging to see as I am going to turn professional soon and it's good to know there is a bit of money to be made out there. It is definitely encouraging me to turn pro earlier but I hope that more sponsors and corporate companies will come in and support us. Singapore may be small but there are a lot of aspiring amateurs and this is going to be good for the country in the long run."
The last leg of OAAG Golf Tour will be held later this year with venue and dates soon to be confirmed.