Singapore Sports School Student Excels

Enrique Dimayuga and Chen Xingtong triumphed in the 2024 Singapore Open Amateur Championship. Picture by Singapore Golf Association.

Singapore: Chen Xingtong became the youngest winner of the Singapore Open Amateur Championship with a wire-to-wire success at Orchid Country Club (OCC).

The 15-year-old Singapore Sports School student overcame final-round nerves to underline her status as one of the Island Republic’s most promising golfing prospects.

Victory for Chen was especially sweet after the bitter disappointment of being forced to withdraw from last year’s national championship due to illness.

“This win is incredibly special to me because I missed out on competing last year as I fell sick,” said Chen, who represented Singapore in last year’s Queen Sirikit Cup and was promoted to the Singapore Golf Association (SGA) national squad this year.

Chen took command of the tournament with an opening six-under 67 over the OCC’s Aranda and Dendro courses. It proved to be the only sub-70 round of the week in the women’s event and laid the platform for Chen’s success.

Returns of 74 and 75 in rounds two and three gave Chen a four-stroke advantage heading into the final day. Despite a few anxious moments at the start and end of her round, a closing 75 gave her a 72-hole total of one-under 291 – four strokes ahead of second-placed Thai Kritchanya Kaopattanskul, who closed with a 71.

Grace Quintanilla of the Philippines was third (296) followed by Malaysians Foong Xiyu and Ng Jingxuen, individual gold medallist at last year’s Southeast Asian Games.

Reflecting on her victory, Chen said: “I was definitely nervous in the first few holes. But after getting the birdies to extend my lead, I calmed down. There are a few holes, especially those last few, which I thought I could have done better but it was good to handle that pressure and seal this win.”

Chen will now turn her attention to next week’s Southeast Asian Amateur Team Championship where she will compete in the Kartini Cup, aiming to help Singapore dethrone defending champions Thailand.

“I’m very excited about competing in the Kartini Cup. We had a good preparation last week as we had a training camp there (Seletar Country Club) and everyone is looking forward to doing well on home soil,” said Chen.

Meanwhile, Enrique Dimayuga, became the first Filipino since Michael Bibat in 2004 to win the men’s division of the Singapore Open Amateur Championship.

Dimayuga, who held the lead from the second round, closed with a six-under 67 and a four-day aggregate of 17-under 275.

That was four shots ahead of Australian Max Ford and Thailand’s Thanawin Lee with Singapore’s Brayden Lee a further stroke back in fourth after signing off with a 67.

Dimayuga said: “A lot of putts went my way and I hit a lot of nice golf shots, too. My golf is in a good place. I was just trying to get the best score that I can. Thankfully, that was enough.”

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