By Philip John Siow, class of 1948, (Founder Committee Member)
OPA Golf 2018
For a change the Nilai Springs Golf and Country Club was made the venue for OPA Golf 2018. The event was held on the 31st August 2018, which coincides with Merdeka Day. A total of 52 golfers making up a field of 13 flights, consisting Paulians, Lasallians and Guests participated in this annual event, battling out to win honours for the category of Gross, Nett and Guests. The usual category of Senior was discontinued probably in line with Tun Mahathir’s philosophy that age is just a number and as such senior golfers have to battle it out for the Category of Gross and Nett. After all, Golf reflects life and in life nobody willingly prepares to lose. But winning does not mean beating other opponents and grabbing the top prize. Winning for most golfers means doing better than what one did before.
Besides, the prizes for the main categories, there were also novelty prizes up for grab and to add some excitement to the event, there were two Bull’s Eye Holes with diameter of 24” and whose ever ball land within the circumference and nearest to the Pin, that golfer will be declared the winner as the “Hole in One” prize. These two prizes consists of a Lady Americana Mattress costing RM 20,000.00 sponsored by Mr. Stephen Loo of Far East Foam Sdn Bhd and also a set of Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 Iron Set costing RM3,000.00 donated by the Organizing Chairman, Steven Chan. Unfortunately there was no winner for both these prizes and it will have to be carried forward to next year.
To most of the golfers, Nilai Springs seems a very difficult or rather challenging course especially the punishing greens with speed of 10.6, their convex shape, multiple contours coupled to fairly dubious flag positions. Even the Champion flight consisting of professional golfers Victor Lim and Miss Lim Ai Lian together with past OPA Champs Loh Seng Koon and Gabriel Lim were off rhythm in their game blaming the deceptive greens. In their stead, a complete outsider, Henry Foo, Handicap 16 wins honour when he carded an impressive gross score of 84 to win the Gross Champion. Congratulations Henry! Trailing Henry from behind was Ai Lian who took 2nd placing with a gross score of 85 OCB and Loh Seng Koon took 3rd placing with a gross score of 85 OCB. At least that was considered “face saving” for Ai Lian and Seng Koon as a pro and ex-champ.
The Nett Category also has its fair share of another big surprise. Raghbir Singh, aged 73, playing with a 15 handicap and being “deprived” of playing in the aborted Senior Category, outshined the entire field of younger golfers to win the Nett Category. He carded a very impressive Nett score of 70 to put all the younger boys to shame. Ricky Chen came in second placing with 73 OCB Nett followed by Rubesh Rubenthran taking third placing with a score of 73 OCB.
In his speech, the Chairman Steven Chan, thanked everyone for the presence despite the disruption of the long weekend holiday to make the event another great success. OPA Golf has always been a tradition of great fellowship and fun prelude to our Annual Reunion Dinner and it was everyone who participated who has made this possible. A special word of thanks and appreciation was also conveyed to the sponsors namely Mr. Stephen Loo of Far East Foam Sdn Bhd, Mr. Francis Yew of Heineken Malaysia Berhad, Mr. Tee Choon Yeow of London and Pacific Insurance, Messrs. Gigamon as well as Messrs Kaspersky for their generous sponsorship.
Raghbir Singh (left) receiving the Nett Champion trophy from Dato' Lai See Ming