She is almost there: Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching finishes strong in China to all but sew up Olympic Games berth

The 22-year-old amateur finished in a tie for 37th at the Kumo Tyre Ladies Open in Shandong province and is on course to hold onto her place in the field for Rio

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 July, 2016, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 July, 2016, 10:57pm

Hong Kong’s golfing golden girl Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching saved her best for last at the Kumo Tyre Ladies Open in Shandong province to give her chances of teeing up the Olympic Games a significant boost.

The Tuen Mun amateur fired a final round 73 to climb into a share of 37th at the Korea LPGA and China LPGA co-sanctioned event, which saw Lee Min-young hold off major champion Feng Shanshan for the title.

While the 22-year-old Chan, who stunned the professionals to win last month’s Hong Kong Ladies Open at Fanling, admitted to feeling frustrated with aspects of her game, the result should see her retain 59th spot on the Olympic ranking, which will be updated on Monday.

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The top 60 players are guaranteed of their starting berths in Rio de Janeiro when the qualifying period ends on July 11, and the fact that Chan made the cut in China amongst a strong field, while her nearest rivals – Victoria Lovelady of Brazil in 60th and Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, who holds the first alternate position – failed to any accrue any ranking points this week, means the former Diocesan Girls’ School student holds the advantage with only days remaining before the field is finalised.

“I pulled a muscle in my back at the start of the week, which hasn’t helped, but it was good to make a positive move today,” said Chan, who was awarded All-American honours in May after enjoying a successful first season playing college golf for the University of Southern California.

Closing in: Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan makes the cut in China to move within touching distance of Olympic Games qualification

“The course played tough, but hopefully I’m pretty much there [in terms of qualifying for Rio]. My objective was to finish strong despite the injury, so to shoot my best round of the week on Sunday was satisfying.

“I’m in a good position for the Olympics, but I’ll still have to wait and see, which is what I’ve expected all along,” added Chan, who had Hong Kong international Steven Lam Tsz-fung on caddying duties at the dramatic Weihai Point Golf Resort.

Chan has received an invitation to play in the LPGA of Japan’s Nippon Ham Ladies Classic, which gets underway on Friday, but will consult her physiotherapist upon returning to Hong Kong as to the seriousness of her back strain before making the decision to travel.