Tiffany Chan falters in Hong Kong Ladies Open – ‘I disappointed a lot of my family and friends’
Local star finishes seven shots off the pace as Thailand’s Saranporn Langkulgasettrin surges home with a 64 to take the spoils in a play-off
It wasn’t the fairy-tale finish to the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open that local star Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching had hoped for at Fanling on Sunday, with the 24-year-old admitting she has plenty to work on ahead of the US Women’s Open later this month.
Chan teed off in the final group after entering the last day within three shots of the lead, but struggled to build any momentum before finishing seven shots adrift in a tie for seventh on the Old Course.
Thailand’s Saranporn Langkulgasettrin took the spoils in a play-off, with Chan left to rue her fade out.
“I think I disappointed the audience and a lot of my friends and family but at the end of the day I am still young and I still have a lot of years to win this tournament,” said Chan, who won the event in 2016.
“I think I did a good job on the first two days but I couldn’t finish it off. I found it really hard to get momentum going out there, I bogeyed my second hole which was unexpected because I drove it next to the green.
“I just couldn’t hold my emotions as good as the last two days but I am really looking forward to the US Open, so I better calm myself down.”
Chan will play two tournaments on the LPGA Tour before teeing off in the US Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama on May 31 and any spare time will be spent on and around the greens.
“I think my short game still needs some work but to be honest I was spending a lot of time on my long game in the past month because I was trying to change something up, gain some distance,” she said.
“I put more focus on my long game but obviously my short game is not as sharp, my main goal is to improve that.”
While Chan could only muster two birdies to go with four bogeys in her closing 74, 18-year-old Saranporn went on a tear, firing eight birdies in her eight-under-par 64.
At one point she carded seven straight birdies between holes eight and 14 after starting Sunday six shots off the pace.
She added one more to defeat Taiwan’s Chen Szu-han in the first hole of the play-off after the pair were locked at 11 under, capping a day to remember for the teenager.
“This one is the greatest one, shot eight under and won in a play-off, it’s amazing,” said Saranporn, who has also qualified for the US Open and whose professional victories include last year’s PPT Thailand LPGA Masters.
“I shocked myself, I didn’t know what was happening, I just played,” she added about her seven-birdie run.
It was Saranporn’s third time competing in Hong Kong and she wasn’t going to leave anything on the course after falling just two shots short in 2017.
“I thought ‘just go for it, you don’t want to regret it later’,” she said about her mindset entering the final round. “It feels really good to be back here and to have played better than last year.”
Amateurs Isabella Leung and Michelle Cheung were the other two Hongkongers to make the cut, with Leung finishing even for the tournament and in a tie for 23rd, while Cheung’s two over saw her tie for 29th.