Struggling, yet hopeful, Lam Chih Bing landed on Indian shores in 2006. It was the birth of a venture that had drawn him from Singapore, and the association with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) proved to be mutually beneficial.
In search of recognition, the presence of Lam and his ilk lent an international flavour to the Tour. For the golfer, it proved to be a happy hunting ground. “It (PGTI) offered exciting prospects and there was good money,” said Lam, after the second round at the Panasonic Open.
At Rs. 70 lakh, the BILT Open, the inaugural event, was the biggest domestic platform, and Lam was quick to make a mark with a second-spot finish.
The confidence was up, so was the prize purse, when the next edition came. Closing with back-to-back bogeys did add some drama to the final day but Lam managed to keep his nose ahead.
The win in 2007 went some way in preparing for a performance on the big stage, which came soon after when he won the Volvo Masters of Asia.
The breakthrough win in 2008 confirmed his spot on the Asian Tour, and with it Lam’s visits to India were down to a trickle. The urge to soar was natural and it is to his credit that the playing rights were intact till the end of last season.
Ten missed cuts and the lone top-10 finish last year brings a shake of the head. The problem lies on the greens. “If I make putts, I’ll be fine,” he says.
The outings at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) aren’t exactly memorable, “it’s so penalising”, remarks Lam, but he is happy to be back. Making the cut was never an issue here, and that’s the way it is at the Panasonic Open.
Two shots off
What has hurt is the inability to finish it at the weekend, and it is here that Lam hopes a departure has been made. Overnight joint leader with Wade Ormsby, Friday’s card of three-under 69 placed him at eight-under 136, which was two shots off the Australian.
But for a botched second shot on the 8th and a tough pin position on the next, the lead could have been his, but Lam wasn’t offering excuses. “You can know the course well but you still have to perform,” was the firm reply.