Tiffany Chan keeping her feet on the ground despite LPGA Tour dream starting to become a reality
Hong Kong professional continues Symetra Tour season at this week’s Island Resort Championship in Michigan following stunning nine-under-par final round on US debut
Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching remains focused on her goal of reaching the top-level LPGA Tour, but the Hong Kong professional is sticking to the old adage of “taking it one shot at a time” despite last week’s stunning Symetra Tour debut following a “perfect round”.
Playing in just her second professional event, Chan rocketed up to 29th on the second-tier tour order of merit after claiming a second-place finish at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic following a bogey-free final round of nine-under-par 63 in Illinois.
But the lowest round on the Symetra Tour this year is already firmly in the past as the 23-year-old switches focus to this week’s Island Resort Championship in Michigan.
Chan is looking to chip away at the order of merit, where a top-10 finish earns a coveted full card on the top-level LPGA Tour next season.
“I have just started, there are 11 tournaments to go and it is only week 11 and anything could happen. I have just got to focus on the present for now and not think about the future,” said the University of Southern California graduate.
“I am just going to take it one shot at a time and not think about any possibility of making it on the tour until the last couple of tournaments.”
Having returned to the US after claiming a 13th-place finish in defence of her EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open title, Chan began life on the “Road to the LPGA” with commendable rounds of 70 and 72 at Hickory Point Golf Course.
But her final round effort saw Chan leap to the top of the afternoon leaderboard before being edged out by one shot as Chorphaka Jaengkit from Thailand.
“It was a good start last week. I was hitting it really well and I was hitting good putts, but not all the putts went it and I had to be patient and redeem it on the third day when everything went in,” said Chan, who will again have the “friendly face” of brother-in-law Jeremy Yew on her bag this week, with the husband of sister Cathy also continuing for the following two weeks.
“I would say it was a perfect round. I hit my drive perfect and approaches and my putting and there was no mistakes with nine birdies.”
Chan missed out on her chance to play on the LPGA Tour this season after exiting the gruelling qualifiers after three rounds of the five-round final stage in December, although that was enough for a full card on the Symetra Tour which she took up this month after turning to the professional ranks ahead of her Hong Kong Ladies Open title defence.
With the 6,286-yard testing Sweetgrass Golf Club representing the midway point of the 22-stop Symetra Tour season, Chan still has plenty of time to work her way up the order of merit as the Olympian intends to play all of the remaining events to add to her US$12,311 prize money.
“It is a good place to start from as I didn’t expect to get into a play-off or even second place as I thought the leaders or leading group would shoot a couple under on the last day, but maybe the conditions were not as easy over the first two days.
“I am really happy with what I have done and I can improve more in the next couple of events,” said Chan.
“This week the course is totally different and more challenging after the heavy rain. I just need to focus on what I need to do and not think about last week. I am still confident in my game and my swing and hopefully I can get another top 10 or top five.”
Chan, though, admits she will need a little more money in the bank to take up the offer of leading Hong Kong-based coach Iain Roberts to work with her in the US.
Former Hong Kong Golf Club head professional Roberts is the former coach of two-time major winner Suzann Pettersen and was reunited with Chan earlier this month at Fanling.
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“Iain gave me some tips after the second day in Hong Kong. We had discussions that maybe we could work together in the future as the cost for hiring a coach is not affordable to me at the moment, so we are still talking about it,” said Chan, who signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Swiss bank EFG earlier this month which covers the majority of her travel costs.
“I am still debating and maybe talking to EFG to see if I can get some more help from them, but it is still an unknown for now to hire a coach to travel with.”