Singapore: Tommy Tan Xuan Hao is setting his sights on the ideal birthday gift – victory in this week’s Faldo Series Singapore Championship.
The talented teenager turns 15 on Wednesday, the penultimate day of the 54-hole stroke play event over the Raffles Country Club’s Palm Course.
A member of the Singapore National Development Squad, Tan would like nothing more than to celebrate the occasion by etching his name onto the trophy.
As well as securing himself a return trip to Mission Hills China for the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final next March, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo, success for Tan would banish from his memory the manner in which victory slipped agonisingly from his grasp last year.
Leading the way in the Singapore qualifier at Jurong Country Club with nine holes remaining, Tan stumbled with a quadruple-bogey eight at the 10th hole en route to an inward 42 that saw him drop to third.
Nonetheless, he still qualified to represent his country in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final where he tied for 34th in what was his first overseas international appearance.
Now playing to a handicap index of 0.9, Tan’s improvement over the past 12 months saw him selected alongside Jacqueline Young to form the Singapore team in last month’s inaugural Asia Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championship.
At Raffles Country Club, though, there will be a friendly rivalry between Tan and Young as they attempt to outdo each other.
One of the greatest threats to them is likely to be provided by Erika Layson. As a member at Raffles, the 14-year-old National Development Squad member will hope to make the most of home advantage.
Players will compete in two divisions, the Boys’ Division and the Girls’ Division. The overall winner and the winners of the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions will qualify to participate in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
The Faldo Series Singapore Championship had originally been scheduled to finish on Friday. However, following the Government’s announcement that the General Election will be held on September 11, tournament organisers brought forward the event by one day to avoid a clash with polling day.
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “I was impressed by what I saw of Tommy Tan and Jacqueline Young at Mission Hills China six months ago and it will be interesting to see how they are developing as golfers and how they fare at the Faldo Series Singapore Championship.”
Results from the Faldo Series Singapore Championship, the ninth leg of the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia season, count for the World Amateur Golf Ranking system.
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.