Tiffany Chan pulled off one of the greatest results in the history of Hong Kong golf by winning the 15th edition of the World University Championship in Switzerland on Friday.
The 20-year old from Tuen Mun, Hong Kong’s outstanding female player over the past five years, staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Spain’s Marta Sanz on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off after the pair had tied at 10-under 278 through four rounds of regulation play. Chan calmly holed a 10ft birdie putt on the 18th at the scenic Crans-sur-Sierre course in the heart of the Swiss Alps to best a strong field that included two members of this year’s winning United States Curtis Cup team.
“It was really exciting to come good at the end of the day, especially as I didn’t start well at all,” said the former Diocesan Girls’ School student, who saw her overnight one-shot lead evaporate after making a bogey at the fourth and a double bogey at the fifth. “It’s a big deal for me because of the strength of the players here. My goal was top-five, so to come away as the winner is very special.”
Chan’s fightback began at the seventh, a hole she birdied, and was followed by another birdie at the eighth to draw back level. But a Sanz birdie at the 13th saw Chan slip behind again, and when the Spaniard wowed the galleries by sinking an 85ft putt for eagle at the 14th, Chan was staring defeat firmly in the face. Undeterred, Chan, who now attends Daytona State College in Florida, rolled in her own lengthy eagle putt to remain in contention, and then ensured her place in the play-off by holing a pressure-packed 12-footer at the last.
“It’s funny because I didn’t hit the ball that well but my putting and my short game generally has been really strong,” said Chan, who entered the International University Sports Federation (FISU) event in a rich vein of form having won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) women’s title in May. “But I had a good session with Brad [Schadewitz, the Hong Kong national coach] on the range before the final round and I played much better. It’s been a great week.”
As a result of her performance in the University Sports Federation of Hong Kong, China-endorsed event, Chan looks set to break into the top 50 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking this week.
Next up for Chan is an event next month on the China LPGA Tour followed by the Asian Games and the World Amateur Championship, both of which will be played in September.
“After this win I can aim higher,” said Chan. “I’m going to spend the next couple of months working hard on my weaknesses and will try to do my best.”