26 October 17 The Straits Times by LESTER WONG
They had expected strong winds at the Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand and that was exactly what Singapore's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) contingent was greeted with at yesterday's practice round.
At least there will be no rude introduction to tough conditions when the prestigious golf tournament begins today, Joshua Ho said.
The 23-year-old was part of the Republic's SEA Games gold medal-winning men's team in Kuala Lumpur and said it was vital he and his team-mates tweak their game accordingly over the next four days of competition.
He noted: "The wind is not in a constant direction and we have to check it for every shot - that was quite surprising."
Another adjustment will be in not hitting as many full shots, said Gregory Foo, another Games gold medallist.
"That's the biggest adjustment for me, hitting more low shots, three-quarter ones, even punch shots (where the ball's trajectory is much lower)," added Singapore's top-ranked amateur at No. 78.
"One of the keys as well will be to commit to your shot. You can't do anything about the wind. If it switches, it switches."
Jesse Yap, Joshua Shou, Abdul Hadi and Low Wee Jin complete the six-man Singapore team who will face the region's most promising talent at the AAC, which is into its ninth year. The Sentosa Golf Club will host next year's edition.
Yap, 25, said: "The Australians and Kiwis have a very good chance; they're always the favourites."
Australia boast the event's two highest-ranked players in Travis Smyth (No. 12) and Harrison Endycott (No. 14), both of whom will look to succeed compatriot and 2016 champion Curtis Luck.
The Chinese are also favoured to do well, with two former AAC champions Jin Cheng and Guan Tianlang in their line-up.
The winner of the event earns a coveted spot at next year's Masters and, for the first time, direct entry into the British Open. The runner-up receives a place in the British Open Qualifying Series.
Foo, 24, who tied for 15th last year in South Korea, tees off alongside 67th-ranked Daniel Hillier today. The New Zealander counts Royal Wellington as his home course and Foo said having someone in the flight with strong knowledge of the par-72, 6,601m Heretaunga Course could help.
Foo said: "If he hits first, I will definitely see what he does and try to learn from that, but I'm not too worried about who else is playing.
"I'm just playing my game and trying to put up the best score I can."
ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR C'SHIP