Hong Kong golf star Tiffany Chan off to tough start in bid to win place in LPGA pro ranks

Bad start at LPGA qualifying school for Hong Kong’s top woman golfer and Olympic hero, but she still has time to catch up with the chasing pack in Florida

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 10:43am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 10:48am

Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching gave herself a lot of work to do in her bid to win a place on the LPGA Tour, carding a five-over 77 in her opening round at the final stage of Qualifying School.

Chan was hoping her knowledge of the courses at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida – she played there often for junior college Daytona State – would help, and it seemed that would be the case as she opened with three straight birdies.

But the 23-year-old, one of only 10 amateurs in the 157-strong field, dropped a shot on the seventh then had a disastrous triple-bogey on eight to leave her one-over for the front nine.

And it didn’t get any better as she opened the back nine with a double-bogey. She dropped further shots on 11, 15 and 18, pulling one back on 17.

Hong Kong’s Olympic golf star Tiffany Chan faces final challenge as she aims to win place among professionals on LPGA Tour

It leaves her well off the pace set by Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and another amateur Katelyn Dambaugh of the US, joint leaders on five-under-par.

Chan, way down in a tie for 126th, will have to be on top of her game over the next three rounds to make the top 70 who go through to the fifth and final round.

One cause for optimism might be that the course Chan was playing on – the Hills – was playing to a much higher average (75) than the Jones course (72.6). Eighteen of the top 21 scores came on the Jones course, according to LPGA.com.

The top 20 after five rounds get full cards to the LPGA Tour, the next 25 get partial cards, and everyone who makes the cut gets on to the second-tier Symetra Tour.