October 29, 2017: Gregory Foo, Singapore’s top-ranked amateur, said he’s planning to represent the host nation in the 10th Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship next year before turning pro. The 10th AAC will be held over The New Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club from October 4-7, 2018.
Foo was the only Singaporean to make the cut this week at Royal Wellington where he was making his seventh appearance in the AAC. He missed the 2012 and 2013 editions due to National Service.
Currently 78th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Foo is in his final year at Nanyang Technological University where he’s studying sports science and management while continuing to establish himself as Singapore’s leading amateur golfer.
In July he won the Singapore Open Amateur for the second time in three years and the following month helped Singapore win the team gold at the SEA Games in Malaysia where Foo and teammates defeated multiple champions Thailand in a dramatic play-off.
“I intend to play AAC next year. Once I finish my studies in May, I will stay amateur for the next few months and I think this may be my last amateur event. The plan is to turn pro after that,” said Foo whose best finish in the AAC so far was a tie for 15th in Korea last year.
“I’m looking at travelling next summer to Europe and playing a few of the amateur events there and then competing in the Asian Games [in Jakarta, Indonesia] before the AAC.”
The 36-hole Sentosa Golf Club will be the host venue next October as Singapore joins China (2009, 2013) as the only two-time hosts of the AAC. The Singapore Island Country Club hosting the championship in 2011 when Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama retained his title.
The 10th AAC will be played over The New Tanjong course and Sentosa will be well prepared as the club will be hosting three international events early in the year.
In January, Sergio Garcia and other top pros will compete in the Singapore Open over The Serapong layout before The New Tanjong hosts the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific in February. The club will also welcome the LPGA’s HSBC Women’s Champions.
“Sentosa hosts so many major events. It’s a great competition venue and they always get the course in great tournament condition. With The New Tanjong, familiarity will be very important so practicing and playing a lot there will make a difference,” Foo said.
“I’ve actually only played it once since it was renovated. Recently I’ve been playing The Serapong a lot because we’re preparing for the Singapore Open. Sentosa has been very supportive. They’ve helped the SGA a lot and let our national team amateurs train there. Once the Singapore Open is over, I’ll be playing Tanjong a lot more.”
Foo also hopes that home advantage will prove as beneficial as it was for Hideki Matsuyama, who first won the title in Japan in 2010, and Antonio Murdaca in Australia in 2014.
And he’s not shy of admitting that he has one eye on the two major prizes now on offer for the winner of the AAC. This year marks the first time the champion also earns a spot at The Open as well as the Masters Tournament.
“I think we can be competitive at home. My level of confidence has gone up a lot the last few years and I now have the belief I can compete against everyone in the field. In the last few years, I’ve been trying to play more big events, not just around Asia. I’ve played The Amateur the last couple of years so I think that’s always good exposure,” Foo said.
“I’ve never been to the Masters or The Open so it would be a big goal to get there. Personally, those are the two majors you really want to play. Now, also qualifying for The Open is an even bigger motivation, knowing that you have the chance to play two majors, although just playing in the Masters was still big motivation.
“It really pushes you to want to work hard and peak for this championship, especially when you know what’s on the line.”