Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan survives ‘brutal and tiring’ Q-School to retain LPGA card
- After a rocky rookie season, Hong Kong’s golf darling secures her card via Q-School
- Chan is taking time off and plans to head back to Florida after the New Year
Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching is looking ahead with renewed enthusiasm to another LPGA Tour challenge after making the grade in qualifying school.
Hong Kong’s golfing darling endured a rocky rookie season this year as she struggled to come to terms with the demands of the top women’s tour and was forced to return to the Q-Series to regain her ticket.
Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina was not kind to the golfers looking for one last chance to snag a card for next season’s LPGA tour.
The weather for the final rounds of the Q-Series, held in early November, was damp, wet and full of precipitation as courses No 6 and No 7 tested the golfers’ environmental limits.
Right in the middle of the storm was Chan, who finished tied for 15th at two-over-par.
The 25-year-old, who needed to finish in the top 45, said Pinehurst was a far cry from Daytona, Florida, where the final rounds of Q-School were held last year.
She had the goal of winning it this year, as she came second in 2017, but grabbing her card for next season is a sufficient consolation prize.
“The last two weeks were very brutal and tiring,” said Chan, who has now returned to Florida. “The weather (at Pinehurst) wasn’t that great, it was cold, windy and rainy. It’s much more hilly, the course plays longer, the greens are tougher, so me finishing in the top 15 is exciting.”
Chan noted her putter was “not co-operating” at Pinehurst. However, her driving was on point which helped a lot and saw her through some tough rounds. Chan’s best statistical category of 2018 was her driving at 75 per cent accuracy.
With Q-School once again finished, Chan, who signed a three-year deal with Swiss bank EFG in 2017 to pay all her expenses, can now look to 2019 with fresh eyes and a hint of veteran experience.
She just finished watching the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida, won by world number eight Lexi Thompson, with one thing in mind: see how the best in the world handle tough courses, competition and immense pressure.
“I was trying to watch how the top players are playing. And see how they do on the course which I did not have a chance to do this year because I was playing myself, so it was a very good time for me to learn and watch.”
She added the biggest takeaway from watching the best in the world – number three ranked Ryu So-yeon from South Korea tied for third in the tournament – was how steady they were throughout multiple rounds. “They barely make any mistakes and they attack when they have the chance.”
Chan, ranked 140th in the world, has a new plan for 2019, looking to build on a rookie season where she made eight cuts in 19 starts, and her top finish was tied for 41st at the CP Women’s Open in Canada.
She is taking some time off to rest from a hectic 2018 season, and will be heading home to Hong Kong to be with her family over Christmas.
But she plans on heading to Florida earlier to prepare for the 2019 season, which kicks off in February, and avoid any further distractions she might encounter back in her hometown, taking some advice from the top golfers.
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“I want to get my fitness up which I did not do last year. I had just turned pro and I did not have any experience and I did not know what was best for me. So that was the best advice that they gave me.”
The goal is to work on her game, iron out any wrinkles and make sure she’s in top shape before February, knowing the grind of the LPGA Tour will allow her little time to make mid-season adjustments.
As a rookie, Chan was required to play a certain number of courses, which she said ended up draining her energy as the season wore on and she had to travel from city to city all over the US by car and stay in countless hotels.
“I think the problem I had (in 2018) was I played a lot of tournaments. So this kind of hurt my results because when you play so much you get tired and you do not perform as well.”
The two months before the tour starts will be instrumental in setting the tone for her 2019 season, she said, and she is still using a timeless relaxation technique to stay centred.
“I am still meditating. I still do it every day during the tournaments, sometimes twice a day.”