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Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching

Tiffany Chan claws her way back from brink in first day as a pro at Hong Kong Ladies Open

Hong Kong Olympian and defending champion recovers from poor front nine but lies seven shots off the leaders after first round

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 11:52pm

Hong Kong Olympian Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching didn’t panic when she was three-over par early in her first appearance as a professional on Friday.

The power of positive thinking kicked in and Chan clawed her way back into the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open to finish with an even-par 72 to be seven shots off the leader, Ainil Johani Abu Bakar of Malaysia.

Chan won the event last year in dramatic fashion as an amateur, setting her on the road to the Olympics in Rio.

She turned professional last month after rounding out her amateur career playing for the University of Southern California and signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Swiss private bank EFG last week.

“I wasn’t as nervous as I expected,” Chan said after completing her round in stifling conditions at Hong Kong Golf Club. “It is good to have pressure as it keeps you focused.

“I had a little trouble on holes seven and eight, but we [with caddie Steven Lam Tsz-fung] worked it out pretty well on the back nine with three birdies.

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“It’s always better to have trouble in the beginning than at the end.”

Chan, 23, said her aim in the second round would be to eliminate double bogeys.

“I’ve had several big numbers in the past few tournaments. It happens. One or two bogeys is acceptable, a double is not,” she said.

Abu Bakar had eight birdies in her blazing round on the Old Course at Fanling and leads by one shot from Supamas Sangchan of Thailand, with China’s Li Jiayun and Taiwan’s Pan Yen-ling a further shot back at five under.