Ambitious Tan relishing home advantage
For a budding professional golfer about to play the world's best female golfers, Singapore's Amanda Tan cut a relaxed figure yesterday.
"If it's not too much to ask, I'd like to win this tournament," she told The New Paper with a laugh, at the sidelines of the HSBC Women's Champions pre-tournament press conference at the Sentosa Golf Club (SGC).
"But it's the world's best who are coming, so I'm going to take it step by step."
The 18-year-old will compete in the US$1.5 million (S$2.1m) tournament for the second time this year, after making her debut in 2014.
But it is her first as a career golfer, after turning pro two weeks ago.
While she was nervous before her 2014 bow, she seemed more confident yesterday.
Tan said: "No sleepless nights for me this year. Having that experience (in 2014), and playing a few pro events over the years has helped - I do feel the stress and pressure coming in now, especially since the event is so close. But I feel honoured, actually."
During the press conference, she also spoke about the difference in being an amateur and a pro.
"Physically and I don't feel any different, but I think mentally, definitely a big change," she said.
"When I go and practise, I felt the need to work harder because this is my career and I'm doing it for a living now.
"Before, I kind of slack off and drift away. I think that's the big difference."
The likes of world No. 1 Lydia Ko and defending champion Jang Ha Na will battle it out on SGC's New Tanjong Course from tomorrow to Sunday, a departure from the Serapong Course used by the competition in the last four years.
While she is still a rookie pro, Tan, an SGC member, will have an advantage over the rest, having practised on the refurbished course "many times", and having won the local qualifiers on the same course early last month.
Describing the new course as "strategic", Tan said: "The biggest challenges (of Tanjong) are around the greens, especially where it slopes away.
"But the course is new and no one else has really played on it. I would love to think it's an advantage."
Tan is looking forward to playing with top golfers such as Ko and world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn.
"I really want to watch how they play and see what it is they do that make them so good."