Golf: Koh qualifies again for HSBC Women's Champions

Golf: Koh qualifies again for HSBC Women's Champions
ALL SMILES: Koh Sock Hwee (left) and Daniel Fitzpatrick, head of communications, HSBC Singapore with the HSBC Women’s Champions trophy.

In 2012, she cut an exhausted and disappointed figure after the HSBC Women's Champions event.

It was her first appearance at the prestigious tournament, dubbed Asia's Major, and Koh Sock Hwee finished last.

Yesterday, the 25-year-old earned herself another shot at the competition when she won the HSBC Women's Champions Host Country Qualifying Tournament at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Koh, who is Singapore's top woman amateur golfer, shot a one-over 73 in the second round for a 154 aggregate and a two-shot victory over Christabel Goh, who carded 80 and 76 respectively.

When she tees off during the US$1.4 million ($1.89m) tournament, from March 5 to 8 at the Serapong course, Koh plans to take a different approach.

"I just want to be comfortable out there, and enjoy myself," she said.

"There will be pressure, of course, but I won't let it get to me."

The eighth edition of HSBC Women's Champions will feature 63 of the best in women's golf, including defending champion Paula Creamer of America.

The top six players have confirmed their participation: Park Inbee (1), Lydia Ko (2), Stacy Lewis (3), Feng Shanshan (4), Suzann Pettersen (5) and Michelle Wie (6).

On the challenging Serapong yesterday, Koh shot her best round on the course, thanks to four birdies on the back nine.

"I started slowly, four over on the front nine," she said.

"But later on, I was on a roll; I took all my chances."

Though she is not a member of the Sentosa Golf Club, Koh is in one of its teams and has been receiving practice and playing privileges there.

Familiarity with the course could help her end Singapore's unwanted streak at the HSBC tournament.

Since 2008, every Singapore qualifier has finished bottom of the field.

"Yes, it's a horrible record, but we are up against the top 60 players in the world," said the full-time golfer.

"No one wants to finish last, but someone obviously will. If we can just close that gap every year, we are getting better.

"In 2012, I finished quite far behind. Last year, Amanda (Tan) was just four points adrift, and that's not too far off.

"But, again, when I'm out there, I'm not going to think about any of that."

This article was first published on January 30, 2015.
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