Hong Kong: Local golfing golden girl Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching believes Hong Kong has what it takes to record its best ever finish at the 37th Queen Sirikit Cup, which starts tomorrow.
Also known as the Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies Golf Team Championship, the three-day event was last hosted by the Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) in 2001 and Chan, who broke into the top-10 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking late last year, said that a combination of local knowledge and current form means Hong Kong have the potential to secure a place on the podium.
“As the host nation there is lot of hope for the team,” said the 21-year-old, who will be joined in the three-woman side by Isabella Leung Hei-nam and Kitty Tam Yik-ching. “The Koreans will probably start as favourites, and Thailand has a strong side too, but if everything comes together then a top-three finish is possible.”
Chan, whose last appearance in the event was in 2013 when Hong Kong finished eighth, has every reason to be optimistic.
Since moving to the United States to attend junior college two years ago, the former Diocesan Girls’ School student’s game has flourished. Victory at the World University Championship in Switzerland last June proved Chan could compete with the best young players in the game, and she heads to the Hong Kong Golf Club full of belief after successfully defending her NJCAA National Championship title with a sparkling display in Arizona last week.
“I’m a better player now – my short game and putting has improved since I’ve been in the States,” said Chan, who will follow in the footsteps of LPGA players Nicole Castrale and Jennifer Rosales when she joins the traditionally strong University of Southern California golf team in the autumn. “I’ve got more tournament experience on my side and my confidence has grown a lot in the past 12 months.”
Chan’s teammates for the event are not lacking in form themselves. Leung, who attends the University of Hawaii, claimed her first college title by winning the season-opening Oregon State Invitational, while 17-year-old Tam won her second successive Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship in February.
Chan expects to be able to iron out a small technical issue with her swing with the help of HKGA National Coach Brad Schadewitz before the 13-nation tournament gets underway on Fanling’s New Course.
Ning Li, the HKGA’s President, said: “The Hong Kong Golf Association is proud and excited to welcome the Queen Sirikit Cup back to Hong Kong. We thank the Hong Kong Government’s Home Affairs Bureau, The R&A and the Hong Kong Golf Club for their generous support and commitment to this event.”