Hong Kong contingent at the prestigious event the strongest in four years
Local golf fans will have plenty to cheer for at this year’s EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open on 11-13 May as seven home grown talents have been announced as part of the 120-strong field.
Chloe Chan Cheuk-yee, Michelle Cheung, Isabella Leung Hei-nam, Selina Li Yuen-yuet and Gabbie DeSombre, five of Hong Kong’s most exciting upcoming talents, will join LPGA rookie Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching and winner of the 2018 Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship Stephanie Ho to try and dethrone defending champion Supamas Sangchan.
Billed as the brightest hope for Hong Kong women’s golf, Chloe Chan is in the middle of an impressive junior career. At only 14 years of age, she has gained a wealth of experience from world class tournaments across the globe. Earlier this year, she teamed up with Taichi Kho to finish in tied-8th place in the team competition of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championship, putting up a solid performance that demonstrated her immense talent.
The King George V School student was a key member of the winning team at the 2018 Orion 33th Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championship, and posted a runner-up finish at the HSBC China Junior Golf Open last year in Guangdong in the girls 13-14 years age group. In 2016, at just 12 years old, she completed the IMG Junior World Golf Championship in the US in a remarkable fourth place in the girls 11-12 years age group.
Chan, competing at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open for the third time, said:
“I am very excited to be back at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. This is the biggest tournament at home that we have, and we get so much support that, which really motivates us. With Tiffany now playing at LPGA, the tournament has gone up another level, with more fans, and stronger competition. The EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open is one of the best platforms for me to test my game. I am very much looking forward to it.”
Cheung has been on the Hong Kong National team since 2010. The 22-year-old was the Best Amateur at the 2017 Kaoshiung Ladies Open, finishing at tied-11th place at the professional event. She has played twice at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open since its conception in 2015.
The graduate of a golf scholarship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison commented:
“It is going to be a very exiting EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open and I cannot wait to reconnect with my peers and compete there. The competition there gets tougher with each year, and with Tiffany and her LPGA experience, I believe everyone will bring their A game to keep up with her. I have been playing well lately and getting Low Amateur in Taiwan at the end of last year really helped with my confidence. The EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open will be a good test for me.”
Like Cheung, Leung is also a recipient of a US golf scholarship, with hers being granted by the University of Hawaii. The 22-year-old has earned two wins to her belt over the past year with well-deserved titles at the 2018 Orion Group 33rd Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championship and the Esprit Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur and Mid Amateur Championships last year.
“I have great memories of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open, and would love to do well again this year. While the quality of the field gets better and better every year, and seasoned professionals come from all over the world to compete, I also believe my game is now at a different place and am confident I can compete against the best there is in this field.”
Dean Nelson, Director of Golf at the Hong Kong Golf Club, added:
“The EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open is the pinnacle of ladies’ golf in Hong Kong, and with the quality of the field, it provides a unique opportunity for the best local talents to test their skills against strong competition while enjoying home support. While Tiffany flies the flag for Hong Kong golf, we do have a strong crop of upcoming players who are showing us positive results on a regular basis. With the continuous support of the Hong Kong Golf Club and EFG as our title sponsor, the support we have to develop these talents is stronger than even before. We hope our golfers can take advantage of the opportunity ahead of them.”
Defending Champion Supamas Sangchan has also confirmed her participation as she attempts to become the first player to win the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open two years in a row. The Thai star ended her Ladies European Tour season last year with five consecutive top 30 finishes, with a tied 21st place in her last tournament at the Dubai Ladies Classic.
EFG will continue to support the growth of ladies’ golf in Hong Kong through its title sponsorship of the tournament, as well as of Tiffany Chan who has been a beneficiary of the EFG Young Athletes Foundation since 2009. Both Chloe Chan and Michelle Cheung are currently finalists of the Foundation’s 2018 scholarship programme. The successful scholar(s) will be announced before the start of the 2018 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open.
Taking place once again at the Old Course of the Hong Kong Golf Club, Lee Jeong-hwa of South Korea was the inaugural champion in 2015, while there was a home win for Chan the following year. In winning last year’s event, Supamas was flawless in the first two days, carding a total of nine birdies without a single blemish. She followed up with a strong finish on the final day with birdies on the 6th, 9th, and 10th. The total prize fund of this year’s championship is US$150,000.