‘I’m still dreaming’: Tiffany Chan becomes first golfer from Hong Kong to qualify for LPGA Tour
The 24-year-old makes the jump into the top echelon with ease, finishing a close second at the qualifying school in Florida
Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching was living the dream on Monday after becoming the first Hong Kong golfer to qualify for the LPGA Tour.
Chan finished second to Nasa Hataoka of Japan at the qualifying tournament at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Sunday.
“I don’t know if I’m still dreaming,” said Chan, 24.
“It’s actually my mum’s birthday today. She’s not here, but I’m going to give this to her for her present.
“My parents don’t really know golf, but they just encourage me and I can’t wait to talk to them.
“Being the first one on the LPGA is really big for Hong Kong golf,” she said.
“I know there are a lot of junior golfers that want to go to college and turn pro and I think me being the first will help. I definitely want to inspire the youth in Hong Kong and this was a major step.”
Chan, who represented Hong Kong at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finished only one shot behind Hataoka at 11-under par. The top 20 players earned their cards on the LPGA Tour.
“I’m feeling really excited,” said Chan, who played for three months on the developmental Symetra Tour this year.
“I worked really hard to prepare myself in the past two months. I just gave it my best since it was the last chance at Q-school.
“I’m pretty good friends with Nasa, we’ve played together before on Team Asia two years ago ... so I think I just tried to have fun today, but tried to win also,” she said.
Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) vice-president Kenneth Lam was awake most of the night following the live scores.
“I couldn’t sleep all night as I was checking the scores,” he said. “This is great for Hong Kong and for our golfing community.
“Tiffany grew up in the Hong Kong Golf Association – from a driving range in Tuen Mun, through our golf programmes and then as a member of the Hong Kong Golf Club.”
Chan also won the Hong Kong Ladies Open as an amateur last year, helping set herself on her Olympic odyssey.
“She’s a hard worker and a tough competitor,” said Lam, who is the immediate past captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Tim Tang, the HKGA’s new high performance manager, said: “Tiffany has worked so hard to get where she is now. Hopefully, her career path will inspire the next generation of golfers in Hong Kong.”
Chan recorded four top-10 finishes in 13 starts on the 2017 Symetra Tour, including a runner-up finish at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic. She finished 24th on the money list.
At Daytona State College, Chan won back-to-back NJCAA individual national titles in 2014 and 2015. After graduating, Chan transferred to USC where she was a 2015-2016 Second Team All-American.