Singapore: Bryan Lim wrote his name into Laguna National Golf & Country Club’s history books by completing a hat-trick of Club Championship triumphs.
The pre-tournament favourite feared his hopes of a fourth Club Championship crown, and a third in succession, had been dimmed after an uncharacteristic blowout on the opening hole on day two of the 54-hole stroke play event over the Masters Course at Laguna, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Setting out from the 10th hole, Lim ran up a quintuple-bogey nine en route to a 16-over 88. But the 45-year-old dug deep into his reserves of stamina to overturn a four-stroke deficit with a closing 75 to once more emerge at the top of the leaderboard.
“In the second round, my body just couldn’t cope,” said Lim, referring to the fact that he was playing for the 16th day in a row. “I was in good form going into the tournament but after so much non-stop golf my body struggled.”
With a three-round aggregate of 240, Lim ended two strokes clear of runner-up Dustin Wilburn with Augustin Hwee a further six shots back in third spot.
With his latest success, Lim becomes only the second player to win the Club Championship three times in a row. But he still has some way to go to challenge the record of Lian Ai Hian.
In the 11-year period between 1995 and 2005, Lian won the Laguna National title on no fewer than nine occasions including eight in succession (1995-2002).
Meanwhile, Paula Chepelsky illustrated that there’s no substitute for experience on her way to winning the Ladies Club Championship.
Undaunted by the prospect of trailing second round leader and good friend Edina Szalkai by three strokes, Chepelsky was confident her strategy would reap dividends.
“I’ve been playing golf for many, many years and so I’m able to draw on a great deal of experience,” said Chepelsky, after carding an expertly-crafted closing round of 82 over the Masters Course.
That gave her a three-round total of 254 and a four-stroke triumph from Szalkai.
For New Zealand-born Chepelsky, it was her first Laguna National Ladies Club Championship victory in what was her first appearance in the event.
This year’s Championship featured four categories – Club Championship (handicap index 9.9 and better), Intermediate Championship (10.0 to 16.9), Novice Cup (17 to 26.4) and Ladies Club Championship (0 to 24.4).
In the Intermediate Championship, Chai Kim Yin emerged triumphant with a total of 266. In a thrilling finale, he held off the challenge of Moon Hee Cheol by a single stroke.
In another tense climax, Kevin Alcott (275) pipped David Smithson (276) by the narrowest of margins in the Novice Cup.
Mark Bates, Laguna’s Director of Golf, said: “As we continue to refine our events schedule in order to create a balance of competitive and fun events, we evaluated the Club Championship and decided to make some changes to the dates and format. The amendments were well received.
“The Club Championship is a competitive event. At the same time, it should also be an event that is focused on fun, camaraderie and celebration of our golfing champions at all skill levels.
“It’s our aim to build the prestige of the Club Championship. This year we had 60 entries – more than double last year. We look forward to an even stronger turnout in 2018.”
Birmingham, England: The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland is inviting all those who work or volunteer in golf to join its new membership groups – the Business Management Group and Club Volunteer by PGA.