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Que stays positive

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Paul LAKATOS/Agence France-Presse ANGELO Que is taking the positives to his next tournament — the Singapore Open.

With a sterling 24-putt performance in the second round, Angelo Que had thought of finally finding the touch that would lead to a crack at a fourth Asian Tour diadem after nailing his third over a decade ago.

For good reason. He stood just four strokes adrift of then leader Rattanon Wannasrichan of Thailand and in joint fourth with American Paul Peterson and just two shots behind Thai amateur Ratchanon Chantananuwat and India’s Khalin Joshi in the Singapore International.

But the allure of unpredictability is what makes golf a fun, challenging sport.

“I had good starts but got derailed during the weekend,” said Que, referring to his opening 72 and 71 in windy conditions and a disastrous third round 80 marred by 35 putts that all but scuttled his title bid.

“I hit pretty good shots at the frontside,” he said despite fumbling with back-to-back three-putt miscues from No. 2 for a 38. “I hit a pair of loose shot and paid with two double bogeys (Nos. 12 and 14) but my putting was way off in the backnine.”

That summed up his comeback stint in the region’s premier circuit where he last won way back in 2010 (Selangor Masters) after scoring a breakthrough in the Carlsberg Masters in Vietnam in 2004 and winning the Philippine Open in 2008.

He also recorded his first victory on the Japan Golf Tour in the Top Cup Tokai Classic in 2018 but has struggled to at least get at a shot at a crown since, in Japan or elsewhere.

But his closing 70 at the Tanah Merah Country Club’s Tampines course Sunday, which netted him a joint 16th place finish, could hint at a more explosive showing in the Singapore Open beginning Thursday at Sentosa’s Serapong course.

“I finally got it going,” said Que, referring to his closing five-birdie, three-bogey round. “So, it’s a positive feeling.”

Going 10 strokes better in one day should indeed be a big morale boost and the amiable shotmaker hopes to translate that exuberance into a winning attack in the host country’s flagship championship.

“Tanah Merah was so hard to play, both physically and mentally. It was exhausting and I need to have a good rest,” said Que, whose chances this week also rest on his handling of Serapong’s last line of defense.

“We had talked about the (putting) setup then tried and made some adjustments,” said Que’s swing coach Bong Lopez. “It actually clicked in the first two days (in the Singapore International where Que finished with 29 and 24 putts). But he just didn’t get the breaks in the third day.”

But Que, and the rest of the 128-player starting field, will also need some luck as the Serapong course is primed to unveil a meaner personality after it has been further enhanced for the Open.

“The first thing players will notice after the glowing conditions of the improved grasses, which will make the course look even more majestic, will be the bunkering,” according to an Asian Tour report.

It added that while the bunkers are in the same locations, the sand lines are now much higher, a design many championship courses around the world use on their bunkers.

Tees on at least five holes have also been moved to the water with the added walls to increase the size of the tee, thus giving the players more space that in certain cases could bring more of the hazards into play.

Meanwhile, Kim Joo Hyung looms as the marked player in the next four days after the young Korean foiled Wannasrichan with a birdie on the first playoff hole to snare not only the Singapore International crown but the top spot in the Order of Merit race heading to the final event of the integrated 2020-21-22 seasons.

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