Golf

Amanda qualifies for HSBC Women's World Championship

Singapore pro (72-70) beats regional hopefuls for place in HSBC Women's World Championship

Pressure, they say, creates diamonds and having to compete with golfers from around the region for a slot at the HSBC Women's World Championship helped Amanda Tan, 19, to top an 18-strong field and earn the right to join the elite later this month.

Three strokes down overnight and harbouring doubts over her swing after Day One of the two-day regional qualifying tournament - the first time the qualifiers have been open to the region - she harnessed the apprehension and turned it into a positive mindset as she clawed her way to the top of the leaderboard yesterday.

She carded a two-under 70 to total 142 and pip 16-year-old Thai Apichaya Yubol (71) by two strokes at the Sentosa Golf Club's New Tanjong Course to earn the sponsor's exemption.

Another Thai, Kanphanitan Muangkhumsakul, 20, had begun the day as the overnight leader after a 69 but faded with a 79 to finish fourth. Thai amateur Atthaya Thitikul, 15, was third on 146 after a 71.

Amanda said: "I was not feeling too great with my swing (on the opening day), but I tried to keep it (the ball) in play.

"And if there was a chance for a birdie, I'd take it. If not, par would be good. I didn't think I would win until the last hole, last putt."

She will join the 63-player world-class field when the tournament proper begins on Feb 28.

They include defending champion Michelle Wie, as well as the world's top-20 golfers led by Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn and Korean duo Park Sung Hyun and Ryu So Yeon.

Said Amanda: "(Finishing in) the top 10 would be nice. It will not be easy but I am going to give my best, and to enjoy and learn from the experience.

"This tournament is special as it was my first pro event in 2014 and it's also my first event after I turned pro in 2017."

Previously, Singaporean players were given a slot after the national qualifying tournament. The format was expanded to include 18 Asians from seven countries (China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand).

But the new and tougher format has drawn the thumbs-up from the golfers, even if only one out of the 18 participants managed to get her ticket punched.

Amanda, who plays on the China Tour, said: "It's good to have qualifying... (as) I get the chance to play against overseas players."

Apichaya added: "Because this is a big tournament, I feel it is okay for just one of us to qualify for the finals. That means, only the best can go."

"(Finishing in) the top 10 would be nice. It will not be easy but I am going to give my best, and to enjoy and learn from the experience."

- Amanda Tan on her expectations at the HSBC Women's World Championship

Golf