I’m told there were thunderstorms in Singapore last night, but I must have been pretty tired as I slept right through them.
It would make sense though, as the sun finally broke through the haze this morning, making it both hot and sticky out on the Singapore Island Country Club New course for my pre-tournament ‘recce ahead of tomorrow’s Asian Amateur Championship.
But how was it for the Asian Amateur competitors, many of whom must be used to such conditions? I actually got a mixed response. Brad James, one of the Australian coaches, told me his players were used to the temperature, but not the humidity.
Nasser Yacoob smiled broadly and told me this would just be a pleasant day back in his native Bahrain; and 15-year-old 2-handicapper Niko Vui from Samoa, where there are just 3 golf courses, told me they didn’t have humidity like this back home and that his shirt was wringing wet as he made the final climb up 18.
Enough of the conditions – what of the test that the immaculately presented New course will pose the Asian Amateur combatants? Well, it’s pretty up and down with a number of raised tees and elevated greens and almost links-like undulations on some fairways.
Brad told me that the rough was pretty thick and lost balls were a possibility in places, while Niko emphasised that accuracy was more important than distance even with nearly 7,200 yards to negotiate. The 4th looked a fearsome long par 3 playing across a gully to a green some 224 yards distant, and few found the putting surface while I watched.
The two nines end with side-by-side par 5s, with the 18th fittingly the tougher of the two, playing some 40 yards longer and with a steeper final climb. My legs were certainly feeling it by then, but I found a bit of a kick finish when I spotted a ‘Beware of Snakes’ sign to the side of the fairway.
I guess anyone in with a shout of landing golf’s third Asian Amateur Championship will still have a spring in his step up 18 come Sunday afternoon though, even after four rounds over this demanding layout.
Niko told me his dream was to make the cut this week… and then go on to become the first Samoan to win the Masters one day. I look forward to following his progress towards phase one of that dream when he tees off at 11.39 tomorrow morning in the Asian Amateur Championship.