Amateur, 22, is first Singaporean golfer to qualify for Masters

Amateur, 22, is first Singaporean golfer to qualify for Masters

on May 29, 2024

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SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – MAY 31: Hiroshi Tai of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets plays a tee shot on the third hole during the NCAA Men’s Golf Division I Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club on May 31, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. —  Young amateur golfer Hiroshi Tai will be the first Singaporean to play in the US Masters after he won the prestigious national college championship in the United States. (Photo by Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

LOS ANGELES, May 29, 2024 (AFP) – Young amateur golfer Hiroshi Tai will be the first Singaporean to play in the US Masters after he won the prestigious national college championship in the United States.

The 22-year-old, who studies at Georgia Tech, won the NCAA Individual Men’s Championship in California on Monday by one stroke to earn a place at Augusta in April 2025 and a major debut at next month’s US Open at Pinehurst.

The NCAA Championship has been a launchpad for many glittering careers.

The list of past winners reads like a who’s who of professional golf and includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and Bryson DeChambeau.

“It means a lot,” the amateur world number 70 Tai told the Golf Channel after withstanding a late triple-bogey on his way to a one-under 71 in the final round.

“All the guys in the team have really helped me a lot.”

It was only Tai’s third collegiate tournament win.

After graduating from high school in Florida in 2019, Tai delayed college for two years to complete compulsory military service back home in Singapore.

He credited the experience for helping him to keep a cool head under pressure.

“I think it just let me mature and kind of figure out what I really wanted to do,” said Tai of his 22 months in the Singapore Navy.

“It made me appreciate everything that I do have playing golf almost every day.”