‘Team Tiffany’ cheer on Chan as Hong Kong golf star endures tricky opening day at HSBC World Championship in Singapore
Chan’s supporters roar the 24-year-old to an opening round two-over par which is good enough for 47th place after round one
It was just on 9.10am and the loudest roar so far for a player stepping up to the first tee at the US$1.5 million HSBC Women’s World Championship rang in the ears of Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching.
Enter “Team Tiffany”, the red-shirted posse of family and friends who have been able for the first time to gather, all together, to watch the Hong Kong star in action on the LPGA Tour.
“They always do that,” said Chan later. “It helps me have a good time out there. I am always happy to see my parents out there as I don’t see them too often as I have been away in college for these past few years. But they are always there to back me up when I need it.”
They’ve been by her side before, separately and together, this group that includes Chan’s father and mother, her best friend’s parents and representatives from her sponsors, and whose cheers often frightened the locals in the much quieter (and significantly less populated) galleries on the Asian amateur circuit from which Chan has emerged. Some had joined Chan at the Rio Olympics back in 2016 but, still, they all later admitted to feeling the nerves on Thursday.
As the first Hongkonger to make to the LPGA Tour, Chan is also experiencing a different side to life entirely.
World number one Feng Shanshan is out there also, alongside former world number ones Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Ryu So-yeon. In fact the tournament unofficially labelled the LPGA’s “Asian Major” has 19 of the world’s top 20 players and Chan – ranked 414 – wants to learn from all of them.
But while Chan has been helped into the Singapore field thanks to a special invite from HSBC, and she has that passionate support group following her every move, once she steps up to the tee, there’s only one person she can rely on.
“It comes down to me,” she had said before the tournament started.
The 24-year-old’s first drive flew slightly right and well into safety, away from the nasty banks of sand that line the par-four first at the Sentosa Golf Club – and Chan later revealed the first day had been all about that. Playing safe.
Chan finished the first round on two-over 74, nine strokes off the pace set by American Jennifer Song, after a day where she struggled to find rhythm.
‘I just couldn’t find my tempo out there today,” said Chan. “I was missing multiple shots but I just tried to grind it out. I was happy with a 74 coming back because I couldn’t hit a single shot I wanted. But that’s just golf and I look forward to the coming few days.”