Malaysian duo clear Stage II hurdle

Kelly Tan

Kuala Lumpur: Leading national amateur Kelly Tan Guat Chen took another step towards securing her playing rights on the LPGA next year after advancing into the final stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament on Friday.

The 19-year-old Johorean carded rounds of  73, 74, 70 and 74  for a four-day haul of three-over 291 during the Stage II tournament at the Plantation Golf & Country Club in Florida, finishing in a tie for 45th with ten others.

Also punching her ticket to the final stage of the qualifying tournament was US-based professional Michelle Low, who was a stroke adrift in a share for 56th.

The other Malaysian representative in the field, Jean Chua, who skipped this week’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, missed out on a berth after carding a poor final round 81 to round up with a 13-over 331 total.

“Owh yessssss! I made it again!” exclaimed Tan. “I didn’t play as good as I wanted to but it was good enough to move on to the final stage,” she said

“It was really tough out there this week as both the courses proved to be pretty long. I worked up quite a sweat trying to place the ball in play and make the important putts but I’m just pleased to have done enough in the end,” noted the reigning national amateur champion.

“I need to step another level for the final stage and I pledge to do my best. And if things fall into place, I might contemplate to turn professional after playing the SEA Games later this year,” added Tan.

American Curtis Cup star Amy Anderson, who earned medallist honour for topping the field with a 16-under 262 overall, will lead 90 hopefuls to themarathon 90-holes competition at LPGA International  from December 4-8. The top finishers in the final stage will earn 2014 LPGA membership and all others who make the cut will receive Symetra Tour status.

Among those who advanced from the second stage this week include Tiger Wood’s niece and Wake Forest standout Cheyenne Woods (T56); China amateurs Xiyu Lin (T3) and 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up Yueer Cindy Feng (T20) and Belgium amateur and Stage I medalist Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, who finished tied for 80th.