07 September 17 The Straits Times by HO CAI JUN
Marc Ong found a measure of redemption when he led Singapore's men's golf team to a historic gold medal at last month's SEA Games but his pursuit for an individual accolade remains unfulfilled.
A seven-under 65 in yesterday's second round of the Putra Cup, however, was another step in the right direction for Ong, whose 12-under 132 leaves him second.
He trails a familiar figure, Kosuke Hamamoto, who shot 64 and is on 129, by three shots at the Gading Raya Padang Golf and Club in Jakarta. The Thai-Japanese had defeated Ong by a single stroke to claim the individual title at the Kuala Lumpur Games.
Ong said: "I'm in a good frame of mind. After the loss in the individual event, it's easy to lose my head and cool because I lost very narrowly. But you can say I stepped up."
The 21-year-old was in fine form after a mixed start in Indonesia. He made the turn at one-under and caught fire from the par-five, 493m 10th, which he birdied.
He added five more birdies (11th, 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th) for a best back-nine score of six-under 30 in the 28-strong field.
He said: "I'm definitely feeling motivated heading into the last two rounds. I'm within reach of the lead, but with the scores Kosuke has been shooting, I have to play well to take the lead.
"I want to keep shooting like I have. As long as I do, he's got to do good to win it. Hopefully we can take the gold medal back."
HALFWAY THROUGH, FULLY MOTIVATED
I'm definitely feeling motivated heading into the last two rounds. I'm within reach of the lead.
MARC ONG, Singapore golfer, on his bid to win the individual title at the Putra Cup. He is three strokes behind Thailand's Kosuke Hamamoto, the rival who beat him to the SEA Games individual gold by a stroke.
Thailand's defending champion Kammalas Namuangruk (145, 21st) lost to Ong in the SEA Games play-off that saw Singapore win its first gold in golf at the biennial Games since 1989.
The Republic's three other Games representatives are also competing at the Putra Cup. Overnight leader Joshua Ho (133) is joint-fourth alongside team-mate Gregory Foo while compatriot Joshua Shou (141) is 13th.
Thailand won last year's team event of the annual South East Asia Amateur Golf Team Championship held at the Tanah Merah Country Club. The hosts finished second.
Singapore are currently joint-first with Thailand (398), while Indonesia are third on 418 in the seven-team competition, where the scores of each nation's top three players are combined.
Jerome Ng, high performance manager of the Singapore Golf Association, said: "We are confident to win the team title, especially after the SEA Games result. Our boys have the capacity and gas to finish well. It'll be a bit of a showdown."