Lam vows to do better next time (The Straits Times, 21 July 2008)

By Lin Xinyi

HE MADE his way into the history books at the British Open, but Lam Chih Bing was still left disappointed with the final script.

He turned in a scorecard that read 11-over 81 at Royal Birkdale yesterday to finish 83rd in the 156-strong field.

‘I got off to a bad start and I just didn’t have it today,’ said Lam, who teed off in the rain at 7.10am local time.

Decked in four layers of clothes, he was made to battle the elements again as he fought the cold and the wind.

He got off to a nightmare start and was five over after the opening three holes – including a triple-bogey on the par-four second.

Failure to cope with the conditions, which saw the course hit by wind speeds of up to 70kmh and temperatures around 12 deg C, proved to be his downfall.

In a telephone interview with The Straits Times from Southport, he said: ‘I know I’m capable of better but somehow I didn’t handle the wind very well. The conditions on Saturday were difficult – I’ve never seen anything like that before.’

The 31-year-old also conceded that mental fatigue had kicked in yesterday.

After all, he had spent two days battling to make the cut and three days struggling with the horrendous weather conditions, which three-time Major winner Vijay Singh of Fiji labelled as ‘miserable, miserable, miserable’.

After going 24 over for his weekend rounds, Lam is determined to learn from this experience.

‘These last two days were a big disappointment. It was such a contrast to the first two rounds. I just don’t know what happened. I felt like I was two different players,’ he said. ‘I’ve to go back, think things over and come out of this week a better player.’

Despite those blemishes on his scorecard, Lam can take heart from a historic achievement.

He became the first Singaporean to make the cut in a Major after carding rounds of 72 and 75 on Thursday and Friday.

He was also the only South-east Asian player in the field to survive the axe.

At the halfway mark, he was tied-38th – ahead of a host of big names including world No2 Phil Mickelson, world No5 Ernie Els and world No 10 Vijay.

He said: ‘To make the cut is quite an achievement.

‘For two days, I felt like I really belonged out here. I felt like I could compete with the world’s best players.’

It is a marked improvement from his nervous Major debut at Carnoustie, Scotland last year. Then, he missed the cut at the British Open and finished 130th, 11 over.

While the last two days were forgettable, the experience of playing in his second Open Championship was anything but.

He rated Royal Birkdale as one of the best courses he has played on.

‘It’s so punitive – the margin for error is very slim. If your swing isn’t there, you’re going to struggle,’ said Lam, who singled out the par-four first and sixth holes as the toughest on the course.

He has already set his sights on bettering this Open performance and will be hoping to return for next year’s edition at Turnberry.

He said: ‘You learn from every tournament. Next time I’m back here, I’m sure I’ll do a lot better.’

Until then, he will turn his attention to the Asian Tour, where he is seeking his maiden title.

‘I hope to win an Asian Tour tournament over the next few months,’ he told the Asian Tour. ‘If I can get through this, other events won’t be that tough.’

Go back:

22 July – What a great weekend for Singapore sport!

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