Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching: “Quietly Confident”
The Hong Kong Golf Club will host 117 players from 16 nations and territories as they compete for the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open title later this week. The third edition of the US$150,000 tournament, the first and only ladies golf event in Hong Kong to offer Rolex Ranking points, will be played at the Old Course in Fanling on 9 – 11 June.
Local hope and defending champion Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching will start as one of the favourites following a tremendous 12 months, which saw her qualify for the Rio Olympics, and enjoyed an excellent season representing the University of Southern California in her final year of college with a final four finish in the NCAA Team Championships and eighth in the individual tournament.
Ahead of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open press conference earlier today, the 23-year-old who turned professional a couple of weeks ago said:
“I am just really excited to be here, be back in Hong Kong with all my family around me. It has been a wonderful 12 months for me, and I could not have asked for a better way to finish my college, and my amateur career. It is a dream come true for me to turn professional and to play on the tour, and to start this off at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open just makes it even more special for me.”
“It will be a tough three days and the field is probably the strongest yet for the tournament, but I am quietly confident of my chances. Home support will help a lot, and being from Hong Kong, I am used to the heat and humidity. Yes, I will feel the pressure but I think that will bring out the best in me, so I am looking forward to defending my title.”
China’s Zhang Weiwei, who is currently second in CLPGA’s Order of Merit and the highest ranked player from China at the 2017 EFG Hong Kong Open, commented:
“I like this tournament a lot and enjoy the highly competitive but friendly environment about it. I remember playing very well last year, but it was not enough to catch Tiffany. She has improved a lot over these last 12 months but I think the important thing for me is not to worry about anything else and just compete to the best of my ability. If I putt well, and take my chances, not to be play too safe, I think I have as good a chance as anybody.”
Kuo Ai-chen, one of 29 competitors from Chinese Taipei, added:
“It is a highly competitive field once again, but you know, I am currently in good form. I was pleased with my performance last week in Beijing, finishing 23rd, and while the weather conditions will be completely different, I think I am at the right place with my game to be a genuine title contender this week. Will see how it goes.”
Fans should also keep an eye out on India’s Sharmilla Nicollet. Although the 26-year-old only finished in a modest tied-37th place last year, the Indian-French professional golfer from Bangalore is returning from an injury break and will look to impress this week. Nicollet is the youngest Indian golfer to qualify for Ladies European Tour and the second Indian to earn a full card on it.
The winner of the 15th leg of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour in 2015 said:
“It has been quite tough over the past year with injury problems but I am glad to say I have completely recovered and extremely happy to be on the course competing again. I like the Hong Kong Ladies Open a lot and am very excited to be back playing here, against some of the best in the region. It is a tough field, no doubt, but it is where I need to be in order to keep improving.”
The three-day 54-hole tournament is sanctioned by the CLPGA, the TLPGA, and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour, and supported by the Hong Kong Professional Golfers’ Association, and the Hong Kong Golf Association.
There will be a cut after two rounds, with only the top half of the field competing on the final day. Entry to the event is free.