Singapore teenager gets Championship started

Singapore’s Marc Ong hit the first shot of the 2011 Asian Amateur Championship at The Singapore Island Country Club this morning.

Joined by Australia’s Matthew Stieger and Chinese Taipei’s Chieh-Po Lee, the group teed off under dark skies at 7.30am.

However, Ong, who hit an impressive drive to the right hand side of the fairway, was unable to finish the hole before play was suspended after just 10 minutes due to a lightning warning. Play started again at 8.40am after a one hour delay.

Speaking before he teed off, the 15-year-old Singapore Sports School student was happy with the conditions and clear about what it will take to win on the SICC’s New Course.

He said: “The course is in good condition. The greens were struggling a few weeks ago but they are in much better condition. The course is very challenging, you will use every club in your bag and it will test your all round game. The course is also very undulating and very tiring so it is going to test your fitness.

“You are going to have to hit it straight off the tee, because it is pretty dangerous to be in the rough. You need to hit it a pretty good length as well and you’ve got to be good around the green. It will test your all round game.”

SICC Director of Golf Kurt Greve is also pleased with the condition of the course and believes how the players perform on the finishing four holes will go a long way towards determining a winner this weekend.

However, Greve thinks it will be about more than who has the best swing, adding: “The biggest challenge for visiting players with be acclimatising to the heat and humidity and walking the terrain of the hills. They need to be in a very fit state. Hopefully they have prepared not only for the golf game itself but also physically to be able to walk this course for 18 holes in a day.”