Euro Tour Alternate Shoots 66 Carrying Own Bag, And That's The Least Bizarre Thing About The Hong Kong Open's First Round
Now, I know a lot of you are not too impressed that a member of the white belt set posted a 66 in the Hong Kong Open lugging his bulky tour bag. But the circumstances around Lam Chih Bing's 66 were rather extraordinary and will not go down as the finest in European Tour operations history.
Alvin Sallay of the South China Morning Post story merely touches on the oddity of Bing's round, which left him in a tie for third, two shots behind David Higgins.
Higgins leads by one from Italy's Andrea Pavan and by two shots from a bunch of seven players, including Singaporean Lam Chih Bing, who was second on the reserve list, but found himself suddenly in the thick of the action after Finland's Joonas Granberg was disqualified for not making his tee-off time after his caddie had gone to the wrong tee.
Lam still might not have made it if not for his friend Anthony Kang, the first alternate, deciding to caddy for Unho Park thinking that no place would open up. All this added to the surreal surroundings on the opening day.
But GolfCentralDaily's Donal Hughes (Twitter: golfcentraldoc) reports that the situation was far more bizarre, with Joonas Granberg the victim of a DQ and Jeppe Huldahl trying to replace Granberg before getting stopped from starting because he's not an Asian Tour member, opening the door for Lam.
It kicked off when Joonas Granberg was left standing on his first tee box, the 11th, about to start. His caddie had gone to another tee (presumably the first or tenth) with his clubs, leaving Granberg holding his putter and panicking as the clock ticked up to then past the official tee off time. With several referees scrambling about, Granberg’s caddie eventually made it to the tee, three minutes too late. The luckless Fin was summarily disqualified and sent on the long journey home. “It was like something out of a nightmare,” the fellow player who witnessed the entire incident said.
Had Granberg had his wits about him, he could have teed off using his putter, but such was the calamitous scene, the moment passed. Understandably he took his frustration out on his golf bag before leaving the tee.
And then the fun began!
Then first reserve Jeppe Huldahl is called to the tee, gets there and is about to drive off when he is stopped mid swing and told to step aside. The Dane turns around in shock as he too is ushered off the tee and told the first reserve must come from the Asian Tour.
With that player, Chih Bin LAM, nowhere to be found, officials scurry off to find him and the other two players drive off. Eventually LAM is found and runs onto the tee in a sweat carrying his own bag. He smashes one away then runs down the fairway to catch up with his playing partners who were preparing to hit their second shots.
And a good time was had by all!
**Here's a great European Tour video interview with Malaysian Open winner-turned caddie Anthony Kang and Bin Chih Lam, talking about the "debacle" with all smiles! Lam revealed that on top of carrying his bag, he had only old balls in his bag and no yardage book. And still shot 66!