Koh keeps her groove

"Do I qualify, qualify, qualify, qualify, qualify", goes the lyrics in a line of Jason Mraz's song Who's Thinking About You Now.

Singapore's rookie pro Koh Sock Hwee was singing the song to calm herself down on the second and final day of the HSBC Women's Champions host country qualifying tournament yesterday at Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course.

Holding an overnight lead of four shots over Amanda Tan, Koh extended her advantage to eight shots after finishing the front nine yesterday with a 37.

But a triple-bogey on the par-4 16th hole - the same hole the 26-year-old triple-bogeyed at the South-east Asia Games last year - allowed 16-year-old Amanda to catch up.

Koh (above and inset) gathered herself and parred the final two holes for a six-over 78 and a two-stroke victory over Amanda (76).

"I didn't do well in the Stage II LPGA Qualifying Tournament last year... And one of the biggest takeaways was that I had to learn not to be hard on myself," said Koh, who scored a 152 total.

Instead of dwelling on mistakes and bad shots, she tried to "stay in the present" during these qualifiers by humming and singing.

The National University of Singapore graduate said: "I sing to myself a lot on the course, just to get myself away from thinking about the golf.

"Especially after a bad shot... You have to just switch out of it to not think about it and just look at the surroundings and just enjoy being where you are."

While Koh competed in Asia's marquee women's golf tournament in 2012 and last year, this will be the first time she will participate in the US$1.5 million ($2.16m) event as a professional.

"The good thing about the HSBC Women's Champions is that it is a no-cut field, so it actually takes away a lot of the pressure," said Koh, whose application to the Singapore Professional Golfer's Association was just approved.

"I'll try to finish as high up the leaderboard as I can."


This article was first published on January 15, 2016.
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