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Golf: Koh Sock Hwee seals second start in HSBC Women’s Champions

Koh Sock Hwee is presented with the trophy by HSBC’s Daniel Fitzpatrick after winning won the HSBC Women’s Champions Host Country Qualifying Tournament.

Koh Sock Hwee is presented with the trophy by HSBC’s Daniel Fitzpatrick after winning the HSBC Women’s Champions Host Country Qualifying Tournament in Singapore. Photo: HSBC Women’s Champions 2015.

January 29, 2015: A “very nervous” Koh Sock Hwee, Singapore’s top-ranked amateur, won a place in the HSBC Women’s Champions for the second time in four years with a two-stroke victory in the Host Country Qualifying Tournament at Sentosa Golf Club on Thursday. The eighth HSBC Women’s Champions will be held at the same venue from March 5-8.

 

Koh, 25, birdied the last two holes of the Serapong course for a one-over-par 73 and 10-over two-day total to finish two ahead of 26-year-old Christabel Goh (76), a former Symetra Tour player and one of two pros in the 10-player field. Amanda Tan, the field’s youngest player at 15 and last year’s winner, carded a 77 to finish third on 13-over.

 

Koh – who has competed in all eight editions of the Host Country Qualifying Tournament – opened with an 81 on Wednesday to lie fifth, four shots behind leader Sarah Tan. Despite a slow start in the second round, Koh found her form on the back nine, bagging birdies on 11, 12, 17 and 18.

 

“I knew I had to shoot something good because I was four behind, so I had to play well. It was far, but it was within reach, because Serapong is quite punishing and it’s easy to get a two-shot swing on any hole,” said Koh, who played with Amanda Tan and Ashley Loh in the penultimate flight.

 

“I actually didn’t have as good a start as I wanted, but I just hung in there and played well on the back nine. I was three behind Amanda at the turn, but then I birdied 11 and she three-putted, so I was just one behind her. I was very nervous on the course, actually.”

 

In fact, it was Goh, the 2011 and 2013 champion, who was leading the charge in the final flight as overnight leader Sarah Tan fell away. However, Koh believed she had a chance to overtake the leader if she could maintain her form through the back nine.

 

“Halfway through the round, I got to know that Christabel made the turn at two-over, so she was 10-over overall. I birdied 11 and 12 to get to 11-over, so I knew I was right back in it,” said Koh, who won last year’s Singapore Ladies Amateur Open.

 

“I just had to finish the last six holes playing like I started the back nine. I was very nervous, as these are the things that if you let it get to you, it can affect your performance.”

 

Daniel Fitzpatrick, Head of Communications at HSBC Singapore, presented Koh with the trophy at the official winner’s presentation.

 

“Congratulations to Sock Hwee for earning her opportunity to pit herself against the world’s best female golfers in March,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our vision at HSBC, beyond staging world-class tournaments, has always been to grow the sport at all levels, which is why we have always focused on building up interest in golf among the community and developing young talent.”

 

Low Teo Ping, President of Sentosa Golf Club, added: “We extend our congratulations to Sock Hwee as well as all the other talented young women that have competed here on the Serapong course over the last two days. We look forward to welcoming Sock Hwee back to Sentosa in just over a month’s time when the international golfing community will once again turn its attention to Singapore for one of the most highly regarded tournaments on the LPGA calendar.”

 

In March, defending champion Paula Creamer will defend her title against a field that features early confirmations from the world’s current top six – Park In-bee (No. 1), Lydia Ko (No. 2), Stacy Lewis (No. 3), Feng Shanshan (No. 4), Suzann Pettersen (No. 5) and Michelle Wie (No. 6).

 

HSBC Women’s Champions Host Country Qualifying Tournament winners

2008 – Amelia Yong

2009 – Joey Poh

2010 – Joey Poh

2011 – Christabel Goh

2012 – Koh Sock Hwee

2013 – Christabel Goh

2014 – Amanda Tan

2015 – Koh Sock Hwee

 

For tickets, visit: www.sistic.com.sg/events/hsbc0315

 

Source: HSBC Women’s Champions (www.hsbcgolf.com/womens); Editing by SportAsia

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