AT last Tuesday's second round of the Business Times Corporate Golf League, the SPH Sultans of Swing lived up to their name by coming out swinging to be the best performing team on the day, scoring 116 points on the challenging "commando-style" course at Sembawang Country Club. This combined with their first round score of 115 cemented their second place on the table, two points shy of Team SunMoon's total of 233. Bank of Singapore (OCBC) are in fourth place with 224 after their second round of 111, and Team Citi - who scored the second best round of the day of 114 - are in third place after a total of 225 with Team Park Hotel Group in fifth on 222.
Says Chris Chiu, a member of the SPH Sultans of Swing who were presented with a Lalique Crystal Trophy sponsored by Lalique Crystal Singapore and a bottle of Clan Gold Whisky, sponsored by 6 Drunk Men, for being the top scoring team: "We can't believe we actually won a leg! It's a surprise to us. We have been consistent over the years, top five or top seven, but this is the first time in history we have ever won a leg. So I'm glad I'm part of the team and we're going to celebrate well."
He adds: "The first round was interesting at Laguna National Golf & Country Club because everyone just tried their best and got some markers in place and saw how they went and we shot under par." Mr Chiu, whose handicap was cut by four strokes to 2.3 after an outstanding 73 during the first round at Laguna, continues: "So our team captain Martin decided the team for this round was based on availability and experience of the course."
Looking ahead to Jurong Country Club which hosts round three in a couple of weeks, will the SPH Sultans of Swing keep to their same game plan? "Martin will again have to find out availability of the players because of work schedules so I think the best fit from there. It's two weeks away so there's time to see who can make it."
Once again, the sponsors of The BT Corporate Golf League, presented by Audi Singapore, showed their generous support with a range of prizes given away during the post-round dinner. These included Nearest to Pin on hole number six which was won by Team KPMG's Michael Tan. His prize was a 3 day / 2 night stay at Datai Langkawi Beach Villa with return flight tickets for two and two rounds of golf sponsored by Destination Resorts & Hotels. The Nearest to Line prize (a Vokey design wedge, sponsored by Titleist) on hole number nine was claimed by Kim Quah of Team Centurion, while Joey Chang from Team Citi let it rip with the Longest Drive on hole 14 to win dining vouchers sponsored by Park Hotel Group at Open House Restaurant (Grand Park Orchard), Indulge at Park (Grand Park City Hall) and Brizo Restaurant (Park Hotel Clarke Quay) worth a total of $240. Lucky draw prizes included playing as a guest in the upcoming Audi Quattro Cup, sponsored by Audi Singapore, SKINS vouchers sponsored by Transview Lifestyle, and one night weekend stays in a deluxe room, inclusive of breakfast for two persons at both Grand Park Orchard and Grand Park City Hall, sponsored by Park Hotel Group. Unfortunately, unlike in round one when Kurup Sreerangan of Team Emerio won the hole-in-one prize of a 6 Day / 5 Night trip to Murcia, Spain Golf Special @ Intercontinental Mar Menor Golf Resort & Spa for two, sponsored by World Golfers Championship, there were no hole-in-one prizes claimed this time.
In addition to the trip to Spain, each of the league's six rounds' hole-in-one prizes include an A3 Sportback sponsored by Audi Singapore and a Millenary 4101 time piece, hand-stitched in black crocodile strap with stainless steel AP folding clasp, sponsored by Audemars Piguet.
For the first time in the league's history, this year there is a charity drive incorporated, and, in conjunction with Singapore Pools, Tote Board and Singapore Turf Club, The Business Times hopes to raise funds for ChildAid which is into its eighth year. ChildAid, organised by both The Straits Times and The Business Times is a charity concert featuring talents under the age of 19, and is in aid of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund.
The concert is a platform for young talents who have excelled in their field to showcase their talent, be it in singing, playing a musical instrument or dancing. Some past performers who have showcased their talent on the ChildAid stage have won scholarships overseas to further hone their talent. Two performers who entertained the league's participants at the buffet dinner have performed at ChildAid 2012. Sisters Amni Musfirah Abdul Rashid, who also sang at ChildAid in 2008 and 2009, and Izyan Nadirah Abdul Rashid sung a number of duets and solo numbers originally performed by well-known singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift and Alicia Keys.
Before each league round, raffle tickets are available for purchase at $50 per booklet which players can use to win prizes on certain holes during the round. These include a one-night weekend stay in a deluxe room inclusive of breakfast for two at Park Hotel Clarke Quay, sponsored by the league's main sponsor Park Hotel Group, which was won by SPH Sultans of Swing's Chris Chiu. Other prizes up for grabs were a weekday drive sponsored by Audi Singapore which Team Cerebos' Daniel Quek picked up, and a designer bean bag, sponsored by Ambient Lounge which was claimed by Lee How Sheng of Team Singapore Pools. Those with the raffles tickets were also able to make "predictions" such as how many birdies and pars were shot during the round, in addition to the team in 10th place and the gross score of the individual champion from the day's competion.
The third round of The Business Times Corporate Golf League will take place at Jurong Country Club on Aug 20.