Zhangjiagang, China: Teenage Chinese Taipei amateur Hou Yu-chiang upstaged her professional rivals to claim victory at the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge.
Thanks to a magical spell of five successive birdies on the back nine, the 18-year-old Hou matched the tournament scoring record with a closing eight-under 64 to overturn a five-stroke overnight deficit.
She finished with a 54-hole total of nine-under 207 at the RMB500,000 China LPGA Tour event over Jiangsu Province’s Shuangshan Golf Club, designed by Nelson & Haworth, an Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Fellow islander Peng Chieh (68) and Hubei native Zhang Weiwei (69) ended two shots off the pace in joint second. They each received RMB62,875 in sharing the first and second-place prize money. China’s Zhang Yunjie was a further stroke back in fourth with Thai Wanchana Poruangrong in fifth spot.
“Going into the final round I didn’t expect this and I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I didn’t watch any leaderboard on the back nine until the final hole. It’s a blessing in disguise. By not knowing my position I could play my own game,” said Hou, who bettered her career-best score by three strokes.
“I have played a whole year of pro events and would have won a lot of money if I were a pro. But on this stage all the pro events that I have played should be a lesson to me for the future. My plan and execution was really good today,” said Hou, who has committed to play at the University of Arizona.
The victory was Hou’s second success against a professional field after winning a Taiwan LPGA event last year.