Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching

Golf great offers this advice for Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan after horror hole ends her HSBC World Championship tilt

The 24-year-old finishes the tournament 29 strokes behind winner Michelle Wie but still impresses three-time major winner Nancy Lopez

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 March, 2018, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2018, 10:40pm

Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching’s US$1.5 million HSBC Women’s World Championship tilt went from brightness to pitch black in the exact time it takes to play one stroke but the main positive the rising Hong Kong star can take away is that she immediately embraced the experience. Take that from someone who knows.

“It’s all about how you finish,” said hall of famer Nancy Lopez. “Don’t give up. Don’t let the bad stuff bother you. Don’t let something negative get into your head, because that pretty much decides what you’re going to do the rest of the time.”

Lopez experienced every single thing the game of golf can throw at a player – both inside and outside the ropes – across a 30-year career that featured three major victories, 52 tournament wins in total and a run of nine victories across her rookie year (1978) that is the stuff of legend.

The 61-year-old American was in Chan’s corner throughout the week at the Sentosa Golf Club, the pair brought together by tournament sponsors HSBC, who handed Chan a special invite for the event known as the LPGA’s unofficial “Asian Major”.

Watch: Tiffany Chan meets hall of famer Nancy Lopez

Lopez sat down with Chan for a taped Q&A session, and handed out game and life advice whenever she could across the week.

And she was there when Chan’s wayward second shot at the eighth (her 17th) on Friday brought undone all the hard work she had done to that point – and, in the end, her whole tournament.

The Hongkonger had at that stage fought her way to four under par for the day, and two under for the tournament.

But, looking to find the green on the 481-metre par five, she instead found deep jungle beside the fairway and, to all intents and purposes, that was all she wrote. Chan ended the hole with a 10 and never really got back into the groove. But what impressed Lopez was Chan’s immediate reaction.

“She walked up on the tee and she saw me, and I just went like that,” said Lopez, lifting up her chin.

“You know, keep your head up. After she hit her drive, she hit a good drive, I walked over and said ‘Can’t do anything about it any more, you’ve got to go forward. Keep going and keep that smile on your face’.

“When you make a 10, you feel like you have an out‑of‑body experience. You feel so weird and embarrassed. You have all these feelings and you have to get rid of it as soon as you can, and she had more holes to go.”

‘Team Tiffany’ cheer on Chan as Hong Kong golf star endures tricky opening day at HSBC World Championship in Singapore

All of 37, in fact. Chan ended up signing for a 12-over par 300 at the end of play on Sunday – 29 strokes behind American winner Michelle Wie – and walked away from Singapore having soaked up the experience of playing in an event that featured 19 of the world’s top 20 players.

“Tough week,” said the 24-year-old. “Nancy told me just be positive. But the 10 that I made, I don’t want to say it but it was definitely in my head.

“It just moved my momentum. But that’s golf. You just have to keep learning not to let your momentum be changed by something like that. Every day is a new day.

“Now I have to learn from the mistakes and don’t look back. The image keeps running through my head but I have to learn that’s golf.”

Baby steps for Tiffany Chan but she hopes to walk like a Tiger on tour as she ‘chases the dream not the money’ in the Lion City

For her part Lopez left Singapore impressed by the rising stars of the game in Asia and said her advice to them all would be the same as it was to Chan.

“I always tell them, if you miss a shot, it’s the attitude you take to the next shot that’s going to make you a great player,” said Lopez. “It’s not hitting a bad shot and walking with your shoulders and your head down. It’s all about ‘I can’t wait to hit that next shot’.”