Local amateur sensation looking for a strong week at the Hong Kong Ladies Open.
Local golfing golden girl Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching is hoping her home course advantage will reap rewards this week as she goes in search of not only victory at the second edition of the Hong Kong Ladies Open but also all-important world ranking points, which would help keep her Olympic ambitions alive.
The 21-year-old amateur, who joined the Hong Kong Golf Club earlier this year, has enjoyed a successful first season representing the University of Southern California on the US college circuit, earning All-American honours last month. But the former World University champion’s focus is now on the US$150,000 event Fanling event, which gets underway on Friday on the Old Course, a layout that she knows intimately.
“I have been playing at the Hong Kong Golf Club since I was eight years old, so to compete in this event means a lot to me and all the Hong Kong players,” said Chan, who finished in a share of fourth at a China LPGA event in Jiangsu last week. “My form dipped at the beginning of the year but I’ve been playing a lot better recently, so hopefully I can continue it into the event. I’m very thankful to the Club for giving us all such a great opportunity.”
Chan faces a strong international field, which is comprised mostly of LPGA of Taiwan and Ladies Asian Golf Tour members, and will be joined by five fellow local amateurs, including 12-year-old Chloe Chan Cheuk-yee, who was Hong Kong’s best performer at April’s Queen Sirikit Cup in Jeju, Korea.
Tuen Mun-raised Tiffany, who beat a field of professionals to claim the Future Open in Chinese Taipei last year, is currently an alternate for the 60-woman field for the Rio Games, which sees golf return to the Olympics for the first time in over a century. But a strong performance this week and at the two other professional tournaments she plans to play – in Korea and Chinese Taipei – before the qualifying cut-off on 11 July could see her vault up into the reckoning.
“Everyone is putting their hopes on me fighting for a spot in Rio, but the rankings are always fluctuating – I likely won’t know if I make it until the last minute,” said Chan, who finished in a share of 13th at the inaugural Hong Kong Ladies Open in 2015. “But whether I do or not, playing in professional events is a great experience for me.”
Kenneth Lam, Captain of the Club, said: The Club has long been a big supporter of the development of golf in Hong Kong – which is one of the main reasons why we are so committed to the Hong Kong Ladies Open. The tournament, the first-ever professional women’s golf event in Hong Kong that boasts World Ranking Points, features well over 100 international players, but it also gives the local professionals and young amateurs of Hong Kong a chance to shine and display their talents on a grand stage.