Dominant Debutant

Little-known Chu, a self-proclaimed 'social golfer', claims Seniors triumph at Clearwater Bay following stellar showing

Chu Koon-ching sprung a major surprise by holding off a number of seasoned players to win the MacGregor Hong Kong Seniors Amateur Close Championship in early May.

Chu, who was making his debut in the event, put in a nerveless display at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, his three-round total of 221 (11-over-par) giving him a three-shot win over the fast finishing Tony Taylor. Terry Collins, the international seniors' team captain and one of the favourites for the championship, placed third, a further three shots adrift.

"To be honest, I don't normally like to play in competitions; I'm really a social golfer," said 57-year-old Chu, a member at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong. "In fact, the only reason I joined this time was because Iain Valentine [the chief executive of the Hong Kong Golf Association] asked me to play."

Valentine had seen Chu perform in the qualifying tournament for the Mizuno Gateway to the Open event at the Hong Kong Golf Club a few months previously and, impressed with his game, suggested he join the field at the Seniors Close. Chu agreed and within days had joined the HKGA. This championship was the first HKGA-organized tournament he'd ever participated in.

As a result of his fine display, Chu – who is a pleasingly quick player with an unorthodox but repeatable swing – is in line to earn a place in the national seniors' squad.

"I really didn't think about any of this before I signed up for the championship," said Chu, who swung his first club in 2001. "But I'm very glad I entered."–Alex Jenkins

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