Ryan Ruffels heaved a sigh as he walked into the press conference, and three more followed between the door and his seat at the front of the room, his shoulders sinking lower with each heavy exhalation.
The 17-year-old was tied for second spot - along with Cameron Davis -going into yesterday's final round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC), only one behind China's Jin Cheng (11-under 199).
But the Aussie duo did not get a chance to challenge Jin for the title and the ticket to the US Masters that came with the trophy, after organisers cancelled the final round here at the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club.
Twenty-seven golfers got out onto the course in the morning, but a lengthy suspension in play due to high winds and rainfall from a nearby typhoon eliminated the possibility of play being completed before darkness, with the results decided on the 54 holes completed over the previous three days.
Jin was crowned champion, with Ruffels and Davis each earning a spot in The Open Qualifying Series.
It was scant consolation for Ruffels.
"I guess it's not hard to tell that we are both pretty gutted. Obviously, there's nothing we can do about the situation. (Organisers) did the best they could but there's not much you can do when the conditions are like that," he said, slouched over in his seat.
"It's not, I guess, quite as good as the Masters (laughter) but I guess it's a consolation prize," he added, of the opportunity at qualifying for the British Open.
"But it will be great, I can't wait."
NOTHING FOR GRANTED
Locked in a three-way tie at the top with the Aussie pair, Jin set up a birdie on the 18th on Saturday with an exquisite chip to within a foot of the hole.
It proved to be the shot that won him the title, but, while he was beaming, Jin insisted he had taken nothing for granted even as reports of inclement weather possibly affecting the final day's play cropped up.
"I was thinking of playing golf today, so didn't really think that was the winning shot... this win just came so fast and so sudden.
"I was ready for the round today, but unfortunately the weather didn't work out," said the 17-year-old.
"Going (to the Masters) next year will be just amazing for me, man, I'm so excited and looking forward to it."
Despite the disappointing end to his tournament, Davis will take much from the experience, and is looking forward to his chance at qualifying for The Open.
"To play the way we did here... the pressure that you feel with that kind of prize on the line, that's going to stick with you, give you a lot of confidence in any other tournament... feels like we can take on any golf course in the future," said Davis.
"Now we can give ourselves a shot at a Major, and we'll take it with both hands."
Ruffels paid tribute to what was a sterling performance by Jin.
"He's obviously a heck of a golfer. To shoot 62 in any conditions is very impressive, and to back it up in the way he did in some very tough conditions, having the lead the whole tournament, full credit to him," said Ruffles, referring to Jin's course record eight-under 62 on the tournament's opening day.
"He's a great golfer and even better guy, and I'm sure he's going to enjoy the experiences he gets from winning this tournament." Gregory Foo and James Leow finished highest among the six Singaporeans at the AAC, in an eight-way tie for 19th spot, with their three-day scorecard at one-under 209.
This article was first published on October 5, 2015.
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