Kuala Lumpur: Professional Kelly Tan relished an important breakthrough in her rookie career on the LPGA after notching her first top-ten finish at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I in Ohio on Sunday.
Finishing just four shots shy of eventual winner and newly-minted millionaire Lydia Koh, the 20-year-old Johorean carded rounds of 68, 70, 68 and 67 to seal an impressive joint fourth performance alongside Australian Catherine Kirk and Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa on 11-under 273 overall at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Tan picked up her biggest paycheque to date – a cool US$59,015, bringing her season earnings to US$85,307. It sees her leap into the top-80 in the LPGA money list – a position she needs to be in to guarantee a card for 2015.
“Of course, I am happy! But I know I can do better. I have just proved to myself big time that I can compete with the girls out there. I don’t think I’ve struck the ball any better this season than this week and I putted really well.
“I could just see every putt that I want to hit and they were just rolling into the hole. This have given me a huge confidence to finish the year great!” shared Tan, who is also expected to move up on the updated Rolex Rankings list, which will be issued later today.
“I knew I had a chance from the start because the course was not suited to the long-hitters. I just had to keep it straight off the tees, find the greens in regulation and roll in the putts when the opportunity arose. I gave myself a lot of chances with my accurate approach shots but looking back, I knew I left a couple putts out there,” said Tan, who missed a five-foot par putt on the 18th that would have put her in a tie for third with Cristie Kerr.
“The bogey at the closing par-five was a bit disappointing I know that I need the four, but I don’t know what happened there. I think adrenaline. You know, I just hit and land over and I have a tough chip. Of course it’s not a pretty finish as I want to, but I played great all week and I’m very happy with that,” added Tan, who hopes to retain her form in the build-up to her homecoming at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in October.