Golfer Koh could try her luck in Japan Tour
After two failed attempts at qualifying for the US circuit, golfer Koh mulls over Japan Tour option
For the last two years, local professional golfers Mardan Mamat and Zaw Moe have been advising Koh Sock Hwee to try her luck at qualifying for the Ladies Professional Golfers' Association (LPGA) of Japan Tour.
But the 27-year-old opted for the US LPGA Q-School and failed twice.
"Mardan and Zaw play in the (Japan) Tour and they strongly advised me to go for it," Koh told The New Paper at the Sentosa Golf Club (SGC) yesterday.
"They have been telling me that for the last two years, but I went to the US primarily because of the language barrier in Japan."
After much consideration, the 2015 South-east Asia Games women's individual bronze medallist may finally heed her seniors' advice and head to Japan this year.
She said: "I am definitely trying out for either one (Japan or the US LPGA) later this year.
"The way they do tournaments (in Japan) is very professional, and competitions there are actually tough.
"It might suit my game better because in the US, you have long hitters and I am not particularly a long hitter."
They have been telling me that for the last two years. Golfer Koh Sock Hwee on Mardan Mamat and Zaw Moe advising her to try her luck at qualifying for Japan Tour
But she has not given up on her dream of playing on the US LPGA Tour, even if it was very "upsetting" for her to miss the third round of the Q-School last year by two strokes.
"Ultimately, the goal is to play on the biggest stage, which is the LPGA, but there are many ways to get there."
In her first year after turning pro, Koh has played in 17 events across seven countries, including the US and South Korea.
She has earned a spot to play in Taiwan's LPGA, and will try to qualify for the China LPGA Tour after next month's HSBC Women's Champions.
Asked to evaluate her debut year as a pro, Koh said: "I feel like I am doing okay. There hadn't been any really tough moments for me to actually second-guess my choice.
"It's not all smooth sailing, but it's okay, I can deal with it."
She will aim to qualify for the US$1.5 million (S$2.13m) HSBC Women's Champions from March 2-5, in a host country qualifying tournament that will run today and tomorrow at the SGC's new Tanjong course.
While Koh has represented Singapore in the last three editions of the tournament, she said this year's qualifiers will be a "level playing field" because of a lack of familiarity with the newly renovated Tanjong course and her younger opponents.
She said: "In terms of confidence, I just have to back myself up in my own game.
"I don't know how they are playing, so I can only do my own things well; practise, work on my game, and then just play good golf the next two days."