Final-hole birdie adds gloss to Lam's crown

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 January, 2009, 12:00am

Steven Lam Tsz-fung holed an eight-foot birdie putt on the final green to clinch his first Montrose Fine Wines Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship at Fanling yesterday.

The in-form 16-year-old Lam carded two consecutive 69s over the New Course to finish on a four-round total of 287 (seven over par).

And 15-year-old Liu Lok-tin underlined a great day for local juniors after firing stellar rounds of 67 and 70 to earn second place two shots back. Defending champion Roderick Staunton finished third, five strokes adrift.

'I'm really happy because I've been close in this event before,' said Lam, who started the final 36 holes five shots behind overnight leader Stuart Murray. 'I wasn't nervous, but I hadn't been putting well. Luckily my iron play was solid and I was able to finish strong.'

After dropping a shot at the penultimate hole to cut his two-shot lead in half, Lam struck a majestic seven-iron from 165 yards to set up a closing birdie and a deserved maiden victory at the event.

Part of his reward will be an invitation to tee it up alongside the pros at November's UBS Hong Kong Open.

'I'm delighted and really excited about playing in the Hong Kong Open again,' said Lam, whose victory also helped him win the HKGA Order of Merit title for the first time.

'I made my debut last year but didn't play as well as I would have liked. It's going to be great to return.'