News and Media

Date: 16/04/2019

Rivals Ho and Chan relishing prospect of another showdown at EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open

Tournament set for record 123-player field in fifth edition. Seven junior amateurs from local schools programme prepare to test themselves against the best in new Beat-the-Pro challenge.

Childhood friends Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching and Stephanie Ho Ngan-si will resume a rivalry dating back over 20 years to the EFG sponsored HKGA Junior Programme, when the pair tee off at the fifth edition of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open at Hong Kong Golf Club next month.

Despite both honing their skills as youngsters on the Club’s Old Course, their paths to this year’s tournament are distinctly different. While Chan returns to Hong Kong from the elite US-based LPGA Tour, Ho’s route to Hong Kong’s premier women’s golf tournament is somewhat less conventional.

Since clinching a berth in last year’s tournament by winning the Hong Kong’s Ladies Close Amateur Championship for the second time, the actress and Canto-pop singer has put a career in the world of entertainment on hold to concentrate on what she clearly feels is unfinished business on the golf course. The 26-year amateur has committed herself to playing as many tournaments as possible in a bid to get herself into the best possible shape ahead of this year’s EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open.

Talking about her junior days growing up playing against Chan, Ho said: “It’s been over 20 years now! I was six when we first met and now I’m 26! There was clearly a significant difference after EFG Bank became a sponsor, their involvement helped us tremendously as juniors because we had to pay for a lot of our expenses so we definitely saw a lot more support during those years and a lot more juniors being trained overseas which was very useful.”

On the tournament, Ho added: “Last year was my first EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. I was pretty well prepared in terms of my game and skillset but what I neglected was that I had to be mentally prepared as well. I hadn’t played a tournament at that level for at least seven years, so this year I will have the advantage of knowing what I am going for and will be better mentally prepared.

“Since the start of this year I have really spent a lot of time focusing on golf. I have a new coach and I went to Honolulu and trained there for a bit as well. Now I’m really just practising each day at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling in preparation for the tournament.”

Playing on the LPGA Tour for a second year, Chan has posted some solid results of late, making the cut in her last two tournaments and finishing ahead of some stellar competition. Speaking from Hawaii, where she is set to compete in her fourth LPGA tournament of the year later this week, the EFG Global Sport Ambassador said:

“I made quite a lot of changes in the off-season with my coach and worked on my fitness a lot too so I can see improvement coming in but there’s still a long road ahead; it’s early in the season but I’ll be ready to tee it up in the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. I feel a lot of pressure playing in front of the crowds and my family and friends but I will continue to work on what I have to do rather than focusing on the end result. My goal is still to win but in order for that dream to come true, I have to focus on my daily routine and game plan.”

Chan and Ho will feature in a record 123-player field when the US$ 150,000 purse event gets underway from 10th to 12th May, in what promises to be a special edition for the tournament as it celebrates its fifth anniversary and the Hong Kong Golf Club, its 130-year milestone.

Also returning to the S.A.R. is 2017 champion Supamas Sangchan of Thailand who will be joined by compatriot Renuka Suksukont, who is currently in second place on the CLPGA Order of Merit, and fellow CLPGA players Sui Xiang and Liu Wenbo.

In a new initiative planned for this year, seven young amateurs will be given the opportunity to test themselves against the likes of Chan and Ho in a Beat-the-Pro challenge on Saturday 11th May. With a focus on local talent development, the initiative will see participants from Hong Kong Golf Club’s local schools programme tee it up alongside the pros on the par-three 16th hole, in a nearest-to-the-pin shoot-out.

While the juniors will not putt out the hole, the experience of competing alongside the pros under tournament conditions will give them first-hand experience of playing in a professional tournament. Tournament partner Sa Sa International Holdings Limited will be sponsoring the Hole In One prize which will see any player holing out in one win HK$ 100,000 of Sa Sa cosmetics.

Off course, the tournament will once again be providing free family entertainment at the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open Fun Zone which is set to include free pop-corn served from novelty food carts and children’s inflatable games; and in a nod to the tournament’s five-year anniversary – traditionally celebrated with a wooden gift – children from local schools will join players and dignitaries at a tree-planting session at Hong Kong Golf Club on Thursday 9th May.

Speaking about the developments planned for the 2019 edition, Martin Hadaway, Captain of Hong Kong Golf Club, said: “We’re looking forward to the fifth edition of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open immensely. The tournament and the Golf Club’s respective anniversaries provide us with a unique opportunity to introduce some bold new initiatives, ensuring that this tournament continues to act as a catalyst for the growth of the game in Hong Kong.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the introduction of Beat-the-Pro, enabling seven Hong Kong Golf Club school attendees to participate in the tournament on Saturday, providing the youngsters with an unforgettable experience. And with tree planting, free admission, popcorn and the Fun Zone all in the pipeline, we’re set for a fitting celebration of the Club’s 130-year anniversary. We’re looking forward to a great weekend in May.”