China’s Liu Yan shot a superb closing 68 to win the fifth EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open at Hong Kong Golf Club’s Old Course.
The 21-year-old from Xiaman finished the 54-hole event on seven-under-par, edging compatriots Du Mohan and Zhang Wei Wei as well as Thailand’s Renuka Suksukont by one shot. Overnight leader Du was a strong favourite heading into the last round with a five-shot advantage, but three bogeys in her last four holes for a closing 76 allowed Liu to claim her first professional title.
“I am speechless now. I am so happy and over the moon. I expected that I can score a 68. I played well for the past two days after bad starts. I didn’t expect that Mohan would drop so many and opened the door for the others,” said Liu.
For Du, it will be a bitter pill to swallow. The 17-year-old had led after the first two rounds and went into the last day with a five-shot lead but struggled to hold it together in the final round. She needed par on the 18th to force a play-off with Liu but her putt just rolled past, leaving her at four-over-par for the round and wondering what might have been.
“I didn’t have a lot of luck but I did my best and have no regrets. I had some nerves but I controlled my emotions okay. I’m happy to get this far and I’ll come back next year ” said Du.
Local star Tiffany Chan wasn’t able to produce the magic needed to complete the fairy-tale finish at her home club that so many had hoped for. Despite carding three-under-par 69 – her low-score of the tournament – she had to settle for tied fifth place.
The prize for the top amateur went to Hou Yu-Chiang of Chinese Taipei who finished with an even-par score of 216 after three rounds.
Albert Chiu, Executive Chairman, Asia Pacific, EFG Bank, said: “The EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open has once again over-delivered. As title sponsor, we cannot be more thrilled with how things have turned out this week with the world class golfing action under glorious playing conditions, and the thousands of fans who came to support the players.
“With our two-year title sponsorship extension, we look forward to deepening our partnership with the Hong Kong Golf Club. At EFG, we are committed to creating opportunities for upcoming talents around the Asia Pacific region to grow their game, and help them realise their full potential.”
William Doo Jr, Captain of Hong Kong Golf Club, added: “This year’s EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open has really surpassed all expectations. We had a truly wonderful field of players, three days of magnificent weather and record number of spectators visit Fanling. It is really encouraging to have two Hong Kong players finish in the top 10, including our Club Ambassador Tiffany Chan and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership with our title sponsor EFG Bank.
“The Old Course provided a sensational test of golf and everyone was treated to a really exciting final day of action. Congratulations to Liu Yan on her performance and to all the players for making this week so special.”
Ainil Bakar finished as the leading Malaysian in joint 25th place on one-over-par after a closing 72. The two other Malaysians who made the cut, Michelle Koh and Aretha Pan, were T58 and 61st respectively after identical closing 79s.
For more information, visit www.efghkladiesopen.com