Golf: Hope for more international events here

Golf: Hope for more international events here
Chile's Felipe Aguilar bagged a stunning eagle on the par-four 18th to win The Championship at Laguna National.

Even as the future of the Singapore Open remains uncertain, the successful staging of The Championship at Laguna National's Masters Course last week would have cheered the hearts of many local golf fans.

Formerly known as the Ballantine's Championship, the event was held at South Korea's Blackstone Golf Club from 2008 to 2013, but was moved to Singapore at the last minute this year after it lost its title sponsors.

Whether the tournament secures a new title sponsor and returns to Singapore next year, or moves to another country or even returns to South Korea, is still up in the air.

But the successful staging of The Championship has once again put Singapore on the map.

Speaking after the final round yesterday, European Tour tournament director David Williams told The New Paper: "Laguna has done a great job this week to host this event at such short notice. We are definitely interested to have a European Tour event here, co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour. "The conditions here are great, it's a beautiful city and it's a great playing opportunity for many Asian golfers and Singaporean golfers.

 

NO POTENTIAL SUITORS

"It's always not easy to find sponsors, but what the organisers have done here was they found many smaller sponsors in three weeks.

"That could be the way to go, but with more lead time, a big sponsor is always possible.

"It would be great to have the Singapore Open back on the programme every year."

The Singapore Open was revived in 2005 after a three-year absence due to a lack of sponsorship.

Up until 2012, the Singapore Open had been held for eight years at the Sentosa Golf Club, but Barclays ended their seven-year sponsorship of the tournament and there have been no developments yet on potential suitors.

Lam Chih Beng, who was the Republic's best finisher at The Championship in joint-47th spot, hopes there won't be another long break before the next international event rolls around.

"Singapore is always capable of hosting a world-class golf tournament as we have got world-class golf courses," said the 37-year-old.

"Growing up, we used to have the Rolex Masters and Singapore Open... I used to go and watch and that's what made me want to be a professional golfer. It's nice to see some kids out here... they were probably in my position 20, 25 years ago."

This article was published on April 5 in The New Paper.

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