Holding on by a whisker: Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan still in the frame for Rio Olympic berth

With one tournament left to play before the cut-off point, Chan remains on course for the Games, which sees golf’s return this summer for the first time in over a century

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2016, 1:08pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2016, 1:08pm

Despite missing the cut at last week’s Korea Women’s Open Golf Championship, Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching remains on course for the Rio Olympics, which sees golf’s return to the Summer Games for the first time in over a century.

The 22-year-old amateur, who stunned the professionals by winning the US$150,000 Hong Kong Ladies Open at Fanling earlier this month, slipped one place to 59th in the Olympic rankings, which were published late on Monday, with the top 60 players assured of their starting berths in Brazil when the qualification period ends on July 11.

Chan, who in May earned All-American honours after a successful first season on the US college circuit representing the University of Southern California, still has work to do – but knows a strong performance in her final event before the Olympic field is set – the China and Korean LPGA co-sanctioned Kumho Tire Ladies Open in Shandong province next week – should see her through.

Hong Kong’s Olympic Games hopeful Tiffany Chan takes positives from a tough week at Korea Open

“I thought after Korea I might have been out of it [the top 60], so it’s great news and I’m in a good position,” said the former Diocesan Girls’ School student, who at No 13 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking is the highest-ranked female amateur from the Asia-Pacific region.

“Korea was my seventh event in a row and I was a bit tired mentally, especially after the Hong Kong Ladies Open, so it’s nice to have some rest and work on ironing out a few weaknesses in my game.”

Chan will go up against major champion Feng Shanshan of China and a host of Korea’s top players at the dramatic Weihai Point course, but has good memories of the event having finished in a tie for 15th in 2014.

Back down to earth: Hong Kong Olympic hopeful Tiffany Chan toils to five-over par in Korea

“It’s going to be a strong field, but it’s a course I’ve played well on before and I’m looking forward to it,” said Chan, who will have Hong Kong international Steven Lam Tsz-fung on caddying duties during the tournament. “I’ll spend the next few days practising at Fanling and getting myself tournament ready.”

While the likes of Jason Day and Rickie Fowler are considering skipping the Olympics due to concerns over the Zika virus, Chan is not of the same mindset.

“Of course, you have to be careful and fully prepared, but qualifying for the Olympic Games would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wouldn’t let the Zika virus stand in my way.”