Singapore: Koh Sock Hwee has guaranteed herself the first pay-day of her professional career at the ninth edition of the US$1.5 million HSBC Women’s Champions.
Following her victory in the Host Country Qualifying Tournament over Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course, Koh confirmed that she’ll be relinquishing her amateur status and joining the play-for-pay brigade.
As there is no half-way cut in the limited field HSBC Women’s Champions from March 3-6, Koh is certain to bank a cheque.
The 26-year-old said: “It is very exciting to get the chance again to play against the best players in the world at the HSBC Women’s Champions.
“I always get very nervous so I just want to enjoy the entire experience and take the good shots with the bad. It is a nice feeling to have the whole nation cheer you on while you play so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Koh secured her slot in the LPGA Tour event courtesy of a two-shot win at Sentosa, a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
In a tight finish to the 36-hole qualifier, Koh held off the challenge of Amanda Tan who finished in second, and Ashley Loh, Amelia Yong and Elizabeth Ang, who tied for third.
Koh saw her four-shot overnight lead narrow to two shots, carding 78 on the par-72 Serapong Course. Tan, a qualifier in 2014, made up for a disappointing first round, shooting the low score of the day (76) among the 11 competitors.
Koh can now look forward to what will be her third appearance in the tournament, having also qualified in 2012 and 2015.
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship & Events for HSBC, said: “What a great performance by Sock Hwee. HSBC Women’s Champions has earned a reputation as one of the toughest tests in international golf and it’s a real achievement to be lining up alongside a world-class field at a world-class course at Sentosa.
“As a long-term sponsor of the sport, we are committed to opening up the world of golf and the qualifying tournament is a great opportunity for Singapore’s finest to rub shoulders with the world’s golfing elite. With a new look and feel, HSBC Women’s Champions will be a four-day festival of world-class golf, music and food, and we look forward to a wonderful week of sport and entertainment.”
Sentosa Golf Club President Low Teo Ping added: “Sentosa Golf Club has been home to the HSBC Women’s Champions for the past three years and the golfing action we have seen here over the last two days is testament to the growing local talent pool that we have in the game in Singapore. Sock Hwee is a well-deserved winner and we are proud to play a part in the development of women’s golf in Singapore. We look forward to seeing her compete on the Serapong Course in March.”
The ninth edition of HSBC Women’s Champions will see world number two and defending champion Park In-bee line-up alongside world number one Lydia Ko and 2014 HSBC Women’s Champions winner Paula Creamer, among others.