Golf

Amanda wins play-off for HSBC Champions spot

Teen qualifies for second time, but this time it could be as a pro

She had dreamed of becoming a golf professional from a very young age.

And yesterday, after winning the HSBC Women's Champions national qualifiers at Sentosa's New Tanjong course, Amanda Tan said she would apply to turn pro.

The teenager, who turns 18 on Feb 18, beat overnight leaders Sarah Tan and Callista Chen in a three-way play-off to clinch the honour of rubbing shoulders with the world's best women golfers at the HSBC Women's Champions from March 2 to 5.

Singapore Professional Golfers Association president M Murugiah said: "It seems only a formality, as her recent scores put her in a comfortable position to turn pro.

"Once her application comes in, my committee will study her request and make a decision."

In 2014 she topped the local qualifiers, but in the main event as an amateur she finished bottom of the pile in the 64-women field.

This time, if her application comes through and is approved, she would compete as a pro. Which means that she will be entitled to prize money of at least US$3,752 (S$5,300).

With her younger brother Byron caddying for her, Amanda, trailing by one shot overnight, put herself in the play-off after a four-over 76, marked by a birdie, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

In the play-off, Callista threw her chances away by driving out of bounds twice on the par-four 18th hole.

Like Sarah, Amanda too found the greenside bunker, but while the former played bogey, Amanda made a superlative sand shot that glanced off the pin and she converted the four-foot putt for par.

Amanda said: "Today, I played better than yesterday. I played in 2014 but didn't have the experience, but this time I'm really, really looking forward to the event.

"I'm looking at turning pro and playing this year's tournament as my first professional event."

When asked who her ideal flight mates would be, she replied: "I'd love to play alongside Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn."

She has certainly set her sights high, dreaming of the world No. 1 and No. 2.

I'm looking at turning pro and playing this year's tournament as my first professional event.Amanda Tan

FINAL SCORES

153: Amanda Tan 77-76, Sarah Tan 76-77, Callista Chen 76-77.

156: Amelia Yong 80-76.

159: Koh Sock Hwee 77-82.

163: Margaret Fernandez 83-80.

164: Joey Poh 85-79, Melissa Loh 81-83.

166: Elizabeth Ang 82-84.

174: Anne Fernandez 88-86, Jessica Ang 85-89.

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