Winnie takes the good with the bad in HK

Ike Li|Ike Images
Winnie Ng of Malaysia in action during the final round of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open

HONG KONG: Winnie Ng Yu Xuan reckons that the experience gained at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open this week will put her in good stead as she seeks to prepare for life as touring professional in years to come.

Two successive double bogeys late into her final round prevented the national amateur from clinching a top-ten finish at the Hong Kong Golf Club on Sunday.

A closing four-over 76 saw Ng settle for joint 16th on one-under with six others, including compatriot Aretha Pan Herng in the US$150,000 tournament, co-sanctioned by the China and Taiwan LPGAs alongside the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT).

The 16-year-old admitted that she was a bundle of nerves as she tried hard to finish the tournament as the low amateur, only to miss out by two strokes to Chinese Taipei’s Hsuan Chen.

“I was on the defensive from the word go – my shots were going all over the place. It was a real grind trying to salvage something. I managed to cross over on one-over and was holding onto it until I hit trouble on the 15th & 16th.

“I felt very sad about the two double [bogeys] but I told myself that I deserved to finish strongly and came back with a birdie on the 17th and narrowly missed another gain on the last hole,” said the Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar student.

“The biggest lesson I learnt this week is just to not think about anything, especially on the last day, that I need to just got out and play. I wasn’t thinking about the right things and instead of focusing on my pre-shot routines, I was worrying about my technique,” added Ng.

She confessed that she has to take her game to another level if she is to translate the promise she has shown on the amateur ranks to the challenging realm of the professional game.

“I learned a lot this week. I realised how important it was to have a great first round because if it wasn’t for that, I might not have made the cut. If you want to play on Tour – you just have to be super ready – be it physically, mentally, emotionally and more importantly, the confidence in your technical abilities. I am very thankful to EFG for this priceless opportunity – this week has been a real eye-opening experience!” she exclaimed.

Saranporn Langkulgasettrin with the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open trophy © Ike Li|Ike Images

Ng finished 10 shots behind Thai professional Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, who birdied the first extra hole to beat Chinese Taipei’s Szu Han Chen in a play-off – having carded a magnificent closing effort of eight-under 64 to haul herself into contention.

Saranporn’s victory – her second of the year and fifth China LPGA Tour title – was worth US$22,500. It was the 18-year-old Phuket native’s 15th win since turning pro in 2015.