Callista, Shannon hope to shine at Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific C'ship
Callista eyes fairy-tale run at the Women's Amateur, while Shannon is happy for the exposure
Local amateur golfers Callista Chen and Shannon Tan will need no extra motivation to shine at next month's Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific championship.
At stake is more than just prestige, but also the chance to play against their idol Park Sung Hyun, at the HSBC Women's World Championship where the South Korean world No. 2 has confirmed her participation.
The winner of the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific championship will receive invitations to play in the HSBC Women's World Championship here in March, as well as two Majors - the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Inspiration and Ricoh Women's British Open.
The competition, organised by The Royal & Ancient (R&A) and Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), will be played over 72 holes at the New Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club from Feb 21-24.
At the unveiling of the trophy yesterday, Callista, 19, told The New Paper that she relished the prospect of coming up against 2017 US Open winner Park.
The top-ranked amateur in Singapore said: "She is very calm and collected, and she hits the ball very well, that's why I admire her playing style.
"I definitely would like to play with her during a tournament."
Callista, who won the Faldo Series Singapore Championship last year, is also dreaming of going toe-to-toe with the world's top golfers at a Major.
While she admitted that it would be tough to trump the top amateurs in the region, she has vowed to give everything's she's got.
Said Callista, who has targeted a top-15 finish: "It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so I've got to grab it.
"Being one of the players to represent Singapore for the first edition of the competition is quite special.
"A lot of players have come from these rather big events, so hopefully, if I perform well in this event, I will have a good future in the professional scene."
If I perform well in this event, I will have a good future in the professional scene.- Local golfer Callista Chen on the significance of the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific championship
While Callista is plotting a fairy-tale run at the competition, Shannon's objective at the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific championship is a modest one: To learn from better players.
The 13-year-old, who won last year's Warren-MST Amateur Open, was a student at Methodist Girls' School but will continue her studies in Australia from April.
She said of her goal: "Just competing and seeing other better players and learn from them."
Callista and Shannon are part of a team of six representing Singapore.
The others are Jacqueline Young, Nicole Mok, Inez Ng and Sarah Tan.
A total of 84 players from 18 countries will vie for the top prize, including top amateur golfers like Thailand's Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (No. 15), China's Liu Wenbo (No. 21) and South Korea's Cho A Yean (No. 37).
The R&A hopes that the competition can emulate the success of its male-equivalent Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC), which has established itself since its inauguration in 2009.
Also organised by the R&A, the AAC has unearthed talents from the Asia-Pacific region, including world No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama, who is a two-time AAC champion.
Director of the R&A (Asia-Pacific), Dominic Wall, said: "We think it will go a long way very quickly.
"There's 64 players from Asia Pacific in the rankings and we have no doubt that some of the players in the event will be high up there in a few years to come."