Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching

Tiffany Chan returns home from LPGA Tour determined to help save Fanling’s Hong Kong Golf Club from development

Fresh off qualifying for the US Open, the 24-year-old trailblazer is looking to let her actions do the talking as the housing crisis heats up

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 7:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 10:58pm

She’s the first Hongkonger to play on the LPGA Tour, has just qualified for the US Women’s Open and now Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching is determined to do her bit to save the Hong Kong Golf Club from any housing development.

In town for this week’s EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open at Fanling, Chan is looking to let her actions do the talking when it comes to preventing the famed courses from being bulldozed.

At a time when Hong Kong is suffering a chronic housing crisis, using Fanling is seen as one of the quickest fixes.

A government-appointed task force has put forward two proposals of developing the 32-hectare Old Course – where this week’s Open is being played – into 4,600 flats and developing the whole area for 13,000 flats.

“This topic is sensitive but for me, playing more good golf might help to balance it out. I can only focus on my golf and my ability,” Chan said, before outlining her plan to build the sports’ profile and, in turn, strengthen the argument to keep Fanling intact.

“I really hope that me being the first professional golfer, I want to be like cyclist [Sarah Lee Wai-sze]. If someone wins something, like a gold medal, immediately the sport will become more popular. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Just days after qualifying for the US Women’s Open with a barnstorming 13-stroke victory in Hawaii, Chan is boasting a confidence that she lacked at times as she took her first tentative steps onto the LPGA Tour.

“I kind of knew that all of them were younger players and not many professional, so I tried to win by a large margin so if I qualified people didn’t say ‘of course you won because it was such a small field’,” Chan said of her dominant victory at the weekend.

She knows the build-up to her first major has already begun, with her home tournament a crucial stepping stone on the way to the biggest moment of her career later this month.

Tiffany Chan storms into US Women’s Open, qualifying for her first major with emphatic 13-shot victory

“I think by winning the US Open qualifier I have built up some energy and boosted my confidence for this week,” said Chan, who will play two LPGA tournaments between Hong Kong and her maiden major. “If I could win here it would really boost me again.”

Chan is one of seven local players preparing to tee off in Friday’s opening round, along with well-known singer-actress Stephanie Ho Ngan-si and 14-year-old sensation Chloe Chan Cheuk-yee.

Should her fellow Hongkongers need a hand, Chan is ready to help.

“I don’t want to bring up myself as an older teacher to them, but if they need any ideas or help I will definitely help them,” she said at Wednesday’s tournament launch. “I’m so happy to be here and can’t wait to share my experiences on Tour with them.”

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And to add to the spring in the 24-year-old’s step, Swiss private bank EFG have extended their sponsorship of Chan until 2021, doubling their annual investment to an amount Albert Chiu, the bank’s chief executive of Asia-Pacific, said will ensure she won’t need to “worry about anything other than playing golf”.