SINGAPORE- Local golfers can look forward to getting back into the swing of things after their Covid-enforced hiatus, with a new series of local golf events to kick off this month.
The Singapore Golf Association (SGA) on Thursday (March 18) announced the launch of the Singapore Pro Series Invitational presented by Fintech Alliance Global (FTAG), which will consist of eight legs held across two venues - Tanah Merah Country Club and Sentosa Golf Club.
The first leg will kick off on March 24 and the tournament, which has a total prize purse of $94,800, will conclude with the final leg in January next year.
Eighteen Singapore top professionals and six local amateurs will compete over two days (36 holes) for the $10,600 prize in each leg. Each event will count towards the 'Race to FTAG Cup', where the winner of the Order of Merit will receive a bonus of $10,000.
Jerome Ng, general manager of the SGA, said the series will provide golfers who are aspiring to be tour professionals with the chance to play and compete during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Kelvin Chng, group chairman of Singapore-based venture capitalist FTAG, said: "With the current drought in tournament golf across the region due to the pandemic, we are happy to be able to help create a sustainable flow of local golf tournaments for the future... we are proud that the series will not only help the development of the game but provide a platform for Singapore golfers to best prepare for tour events and major games."
The announcement of the series comes as boost for amateur golfer Ryan Ang who is looking to secure a place at the year-end SEA Games to be held in Vietnam.
Said the 21-year-old, who is part of the national squad: "This is a great opportunity for players like me to compete against the professionals. We don't normally get to pit ourselves against the pro golfers so this presents a good challenge for us to see how we rank against them.
"More importantly, it also is a good chance to get into the groove ahead of the SEA Games qualifiers later in the year. They are also tough courses so I am really looking forward to this challenge."
The news was also welcome by Singapore's professional golfers as local competitions only resumed this week at the Singapore Professional Golfers' Association Champions Golf Classic 2021 after a year-long hiatus. Local veteran Mardan Mamat won the three-day tournament at the Changi Golf Club on Thursday to claim the $30,000 winner's cheque.
With the pandemic wreaking havoc on the sports calendar last season, golf tournaments are only slowly returning to the region as players continue to grapple with fewer events and dwindling bank accounts.
Said SPGA president M. Murugiah: "This is great for the golf scene. And I'm happy that our golfers will be able to get into competitive action. It's been so difficult to get a golf course since the pandemic so I think the golfers will be extra appreciative of these tournaments being arranged."
Quincy Quek, 34, who won two titles in 2019 and last competed at the Singapore Open last January, told The Straits Times that beyond the prize money on offer, golfers are itching to return to competition.
He said: "This is really something to look forward to rather than just training. It gives us a chance to get into the groove and hopefully when things open up, it won't be such a shock to the system."
Compatriot Choo Tze Huang, who took part in the SPGA tournament, added: "I was anxious and nervous at the start of the tournament but it feels good to be out and playing again. It is always good to be able to play for something instead of just practising and preparing.
"In terms of local events, we don't look at the prize purse but the main goal is to be playing on a major tour and these tournaments are a preparation for that."