SIBU: Veteran amateur ace Lee Ka Tung has returned to training at Sibu Golf Club (SGC) and is looking forward to a fresh start after a two-month-long isolation during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Recreational activities such as jogging and cycling, and non-contact sports, including golf, were allowed under the Conditional MCO (CMCO), which took effect from May 13 to June 9.
“It’s nice to feel the morning breeze and touch the green grass of the course again,” Ka Tung said, adding that he never had such a long break in his golfing career.
Ka Tung is one of the top amateur golfers in Sarawak and Sabah, having won more than 120 tournaments in the two states since he embraced the sport in 1992.
The 50-year-old has won a record 12 Sarawak Classic Golf Open Championship titles and 14 Sibu Amateur Golf Championship titles.
On the national level, he won the Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open twice in 2000 and 2001, and lifted the Champion of Champions title four times.
“I first came in touch with golf when I was a caddy in 1987. An avid golf player later stepped in and help sponsored my foray into the sport. I immediately grabbed the chance and worked hard in my pursuit to win titles.
“In 1992, I joined the Sibu Golf Club as a member and began playing golf regularly and seriously.”
Ka Tung, the state number one from 2016 to 2018, described securing the John Wong Golf Special title here in February as the greatest moment of his illustrious career.
He re-wrote his own course record when he scored an amazing 62, the lowest score for any tournament held at Sibu Golf Club since its establishment in 1969.
“That was my career-high performance. To be able to write a new record is always my dream,” he said.
He first set the course record with a 64 in 2006 but has not come close in recent years.
After the John Wong Golf Special, Ka Tung took part in the Sabah Golf and Country Club (SGCC) Amateur Open in Sabah last February and returned with another title.
“That was about the only two tournaments that were held before the country went into lockdown on March 18, hence putting all sport to a halt,” he said.
Ka Tung said it remains unclear when golf tournaments could be staged again.
“It may take some time and we just have to wait till the CMCO is lifted and assess the situation by then.”
Several tournaments, including Sarawak Open and SGC monthly competition, have been cancelled or postponed.
“Even if the CMCO is lifted after June 9, there is still no guarantee of any tournaments in hindsight.
“We have to be realistic because the Covid-9 pandemic is no laughing matter and it is creating havoc in almost every part of the world and we just need to be extra vigilant,” he added.
Ka Tung also mentioned that most of the SGC members had returned to the course after restrictions were relaxed and they have complied with the strict standard operating procedures at the club.
Players must use hand sanitiser and maintain safe social distancing.
The flamboyant golfer said he would be taking part in more than 10 tournaments annually nationwide but this year is the exception due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am really looking forward to some competitive tournaments though I personally feel it is highly unlikely that any tournament will be held this year.
“If there’s any, it will surely be subjected to plenty of guidelines to comply with, especially when it comes to crowd control,” he said.