Tiffany Chan hits form in first event since qualifying for the Rio Olympics
Talented amateur, 22, makes the cut in an LPGA event in Taiwan just days after making history in the ‘greatest day of Hong Kong golf’
Hong Kong amateur Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching celebrated her first event since qualifying for the Rio Olympics by comfortably making the cut in the LPGA of Taiwan’s Chungyuet Group Ladies Open, a NT$2.5 million (HK$605,000) professional tournament, thanks to a blemish-free 70 on Thursday.
The 22-year-old, who finished in 56th place on the Olympic standings to earn her berth in the elite 60-player field in Rio next month, lies in a share of 14th place on one-over par with Friday’s final round to play.
Chen Yu-ju of Taiwan leads the way on seven-under, a two-shot advantage over Chorphaka Jaengkit of Thailand in second place.
“I played quite well, but I missed a couple of very short birdie putts which was a little frustrating,” said Chan, who is one of only three amateur players to qualify for Rio, which sees golf’s return to the Summer Games for the first time since 1904.
“But to go bogey-free was nice and sets me up well for the final round.”
Chan, who beat the pros at last month’s Hong Kong Ladies Open at Fanling to vault her into the reckoning for Rio, admitted that the attention she has received since being confirmed as Hong Kong’s first golfing Olympian had been “overwhelming”, and that she was still coming to terms with her achievement.
“It was really only until after the Hong Kong Ladies Open that I thought it [qualifying for the Olympics] was a possibility,” said the former Diocesan Girls’ School student who now represents the University of Southern California on the US college circuit.
“Everyone has been so nice in congratulating me since it happened, and I’m still taking it all in,” Chan continued. “But I’m very happy. The attention I’ve received has been quite overwhelming, but I like it. It’s going to be a wonderful experience.”
Before Chan tees it up on the Olympic course in Barra da Tijuca for the women’s event, which takes place between August 17-20 she has the little matter of making her debut in the US Women’s Amateur in Pennsylvania.
“The US Women’s Amateur will be my last event before the Olympics and I’m going to fly to the States at the end of next week in order to spend a lot of time practising.
“My game is pretty much where I want it to be, and now it’s just about getting myself prepared. The next few weeks are going to be exciting.”