October 6, 2016: Fiji’s Olaf Allen, Moscow-born Seng Vanseiha of Cambodia and Sri Lanka’s Naveenda Ranga have tied Singapore’s Jerome Ng for the most appearances in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship following their participation in this year’s edition in Incheon.
Ng, who ruled out competing this year, competed in the first seven championships from 2009, while Allen, Ranga and Seng have competed every year since making their tournament debut in Japan in 2010.
Allen, 29, has been the most successful of the new record holders. The bearded Fijian tied for 28th in Singapore in 2011 and 57th in Thailand the following year and finished 58th in Australia two years ago to offset four missed cuts.
“I really enjoy playing this tournament. You get treated like royalty. It’s one of my favourite tournaments because of the way we’re treated and I look forward to it every year. It’s a privilege,” said Allen who has travelled to seven different nations and territories with the championship.
“I’ve enjoyed all the golf courses because they’ve all been different. I enjoyed all the countries like Singapore and Thailand. Korea’s also lovely and I liked Japan and its traditions.”
Allen learned the game while caddying for his parents and says there are five 18-hole courses in the country whose most famous golfing son is Vijay Singh, the three-time major championship winner.
“Vijay has represented Fiji well and everybody’s proud of him, saying that he’s a Fijian,” Allen said.
After seven straight years at the AAC, Allen doesn’t plan to end his streak any time soon.
“I’m planning to come back next year if I qualify. I wouldn’t miss this tournament for the world.”
Seng, 23, and Ranga, 41, have missed the weekend’s play in each of the seven editions they’ve participated but Seng seemed unfazed after rounds of 85 and 78 at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club.
“I think this was my best performance even though I missed the cut again,” said Seng who is based in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital.
“This was also my favourite venue so far. The golf course is beautiful and it’s tricky. In Australia the golf course was hard too but my favourite one is here.”
Seng learnt golf from his father, a soldier, who was stationed in Moscow when Seng was born. Seng says Cambodia has eight courses including four in Phnom Penh – “two are not so good” – and three in Siem Reap and vows to keep on representing his country abroad.
“I hope to keep playing in this championship. I will train harder for next year.”