12/13/2017 7:39:27 AM

Tiffany aims to sparkle on LPGA Tour after making Hong Kong golfing history

Tiffany aims to sparkle on LPGA Tour after making Hong Kong golfing history

Hong Kong, China: Tiffany Chan says she is still coming down to earth after becoming the first golfer from Hong Kong to qualify to compete with the world's elite on the lucrative US LPGA Tour.

The 24-year-old finished second last week at the final stage of the LPGA Tour's qualifying school in Florida behind Japan's Nasa Hataoka, earning a coveted tour card for 2018.

It means she will now rub shoulders with superstars such as New Zealand's Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson of the US and China's world number one Feng Shanshan -- and has put Hong Kong on the golfing map.

"This is my dream -- I spent a lot of time and energy preparing for it. You can say the last four or five years had been dedicated to this goal," Chan told AFP. "I haven't calmed down yet."

Softly spoken and self-possessed, Chan describes the sport as mentally demanding due to a host of variables, from the weather to her overall condition, but she hopes her new-found status will encourage other Hong Kong youngsters to give golf a try.

The bustling southern Chinese city of seven million people has just six golf clubs with 10 courses, and most are exclusive members-only facilities perched on picturesque coastlines and islands.

But Chan disputes the notion that golf in Hong Kong is only for the rich -- and says her own story shows that anybody in the city can take up the sport.

Chan first learned to love golf at a public driving range near her home in the northwestern suburb of Tuen Mun. 

It charged just HK$6 (US$0.77) per hour for children at the time, Chan recalled, in a city where golf club memberships often change hands for millions of dollars.

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