rio olympics

Late rally lifts Tiffany Chan’s spirits after frustrating second day at Olympic Course

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 August, 2016, 6:59am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2016, 10:22am

Hong Kong amateur Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching had a frustrating second day at the Rio Olympics golf after being put under pressure because of a slow playing partner.

Chan had two birdies on holes 16 and 17 – and was an inch from making it three in a row on the last – to salvage her round, finishing four-over 75 for the day after a level-par 71 on day one. She dropped into a tie for 47th place in the 60-strong field.

She was two over at the turn after bogeys on holes two, four and five, and admitted to letting her frustrations get the better of her when a referee turned up on hole eight to warn the group he’d be timing their every move from then on.

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Brazilian playing partner Victoria Lovelady was the culprit. She argued long and loud with officials in the scoring hut after being given a penalty for her slow play.

But the referee’s presence meant the spotlight was on everyone, and led to mistakes from Chan as she rushed her game; she had a triple bogey on the 11th hole and a double on the14th.

“We all know it’s the policy and the rules, you see slow players and fast players and I have to learn and talk with [caddie] Steven or [coach] Brad and see how I can calm myself down and not be affected by others,” said 22-year-old Chan afterwards.

“I should not rush myself as long as they are timing – if you hit a bad shot it’s just gonna take more time. I should go through my routine again, keep breathing, just let the round go.

"You might get a penalty for slow play, but if you play badly you get a [worse] penalty for yourself.”

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A solid finish helped boost the Hong Kong amateur’s spirits, and she’ll also probably be relieved not to be grouped with the Brazilian again on day three.

“I finished strong which was good,” she added, “so I’m more happy than I was mid-round – I was so angry, Steven tried to calm me down, but it’s hard to control when you’re in that mood.

“I was calm at the beginning and end, just the middle was rough.”

Lovelady was described as having ‘rabbit ears’ – perking up at the slightest sound among the sizeable crowd of home fans following her and constantly backing off shots.

“There were a lot of interruptions from the crowd, it’s fine it is the Olympics, there was a lot of excitement. I had to back out of a lot of shots. Then I had to change clubs, the conditions were hard and I lost concentration,” Lovelady said.

“I tried to refute [the penalty], I tried to appeal but I didn’t have enough argument to convince [the rules officials]. He told me he didn’t see this as valid.

“It’s fine. They are doing their job. It’s the Olympics, they have to be strict, I respect their decision. I’ll take it, what can I do.

“They said we should talk more with the rules official [in the group] that we should have told them that there was noise and cameras – I thought this was common sense.”

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Chan plays in the next round with Lin Xiyu of China and Laetitia Beck of Israel – though Lovelady will be a couple of groups ahead and hopefully moving a bit faster.

Park In-bee of South Korea is in the lead at the halfway stage on 10 under, after back-to-back 66s, Stacy Lewis of the US is one shot further back, and Charly Hull (GB) and Brooke Henderson (Canada) are at eight under.

China’s Feng Shanshan is in contention on five under, while Chan’s fellow amateur, Ireland’s Leona Maguire, showed her the way with a stirring 65 to lie at three under after she opened with a 74.

“I was fortunate I got to play the British Open a few weeks ago,” said Maguire, who was leading amateur there. “The same players were competing there although a much bigger field. Playing a major championship golf course is going to be similar to this.”

Maguire is the top female amateur in the world the last two years in a row and like Chan will go to the LPGA Tour qualifying school immediately after the Olympics.

“I’ve know Tiffany, we’ve played against each other for our colleges [Maguire at Duke, Chan USC] – she’s a good player and she’ll have a good pro career ahead of her I’m sure.”