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China’s Liu Yan holds her nerve to win EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open

Tiffany Chan ties in fifth place as Hong Kong’s premier women’s golf tournament goes down to the wire.

China’s Liu Yan overcame a seven shot deficit to secure her maiden tour win in the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open on Sunday with a famous one-stroke victory at Hong Kong Golf Club.

The 21-year-old held her nerve on the Old Course to card four-under-par 68 and 7-under-par for the tournament. Said Liu:

“I am speechless now. I am so happy and over the moon. I expected that I can score a 68. I played well for the past two days after bad starts. I didn’t expect that Mohan would drop so many and opened the door for the other players,” said 21-year-old Xiamen native said.

“I didn’t make any birdies at the final two holes even when I was within 10 feet. I definitely could have a better score but I will take this.”

In a three-way tie for second place at six-under-par, were Renuka Suksukont from Thailand, Zhang Wei Wei and Du Mohan, both from China. For Du, it will be a bitter pill to swallow. The 17-year-old had led after the first two rounds and went into the last day with a five-shot lead but struggled to hold it together in the final round. She needed par on the 18th to force a play-off with Liu but her putt just rolled past, leaving her at four-over-par for the round and wondering what might have been.

Said Mohan: “I didn’t have a lot of luck but I did my best and have no regrets. I had some nerves but I controlled my emotions okay.  I’m happy to get this far and I’ll come back next year.”

Local star Tiffany Chan wasn’t able to produce the magic needed to complete the fairy-tale finish at her home club that so many had hoped for. Despite carding three-under-par 69 – her low-score of the tournament – she had to settle for tied fifth place.

Said Chan: “I played pretty well today despite some soreness in my back. I was a little disappointed with my second round but you can’t blame yourself when you’re not feeling the best. But I made a birdie on the last hole which was good for the spectators and for me.

“I’m pleased to be the best of the 12 Hong Kong players competing and hope it motivates the team to do better together. Isabella did very well this week and I hope that one day we might be able to play on tour together.”

Hong Kong’s Isabella Leung finished tied in ninth place at two-under-par. The prize for the top amateur went to Hou Yu-Chiang of Chinese Taipei who finished with an even-par score of 216 after three rounds.

Albert Chiu, Executive Chairman, Asia Pacific, EFG Bank, said:

“The EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open has once again over-delivered. As title sponsor, we cannot be more thrilled with how things have turned out this week with the world class golfing action under glorious playing conditions, and the thousands of fans who came to support the players.

“With our two-year title sponsorship extension, we look forward to deepening our partnership with the Hong Kong Golf Club. At EFG, we are committed to creating opportunities for upcoming talents around the Asia Pacific region to grow their game, and help them realise their full potential.”

William Doo Jr, Captain of Hong Kong Golf Club, added:

“This year’s EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open has really surpassed all expectations. We had a truly wonderful field of players, three days of magnificent weather and record number of spectators visit Fanling. It is really encouraging to have two Hong Kong players finish in the top 10, including our Club Ambassador Tiffany Chan and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership with our title sponsor EFG Bank.

“The Old Course provided a sensational test of golf and everyone was treated to a really exciting final day of action. Congratulations to Liu Yan on her performance and to all the players for making this week so special.”

The EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open was inaugurated by Hong Kong Golf Club in 2015 to create a pathway for leading local players to compete on the international stage. The tournament is tri-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour, the LPGA Tour of Taiwan and Ladies Asian Golf Association, with support from the Hong Kong Golf Association and Hong Kong PGA.

The 2019 edition of the tournament saw 123 players from 14 countries competing for a share of the US$150,000 purse over 54 holes on the Old Course at Hong Kong Golf Club.