Just when you think you're tough enough



The Republic’s top golfers will battle it out at the March 7-10 Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open (HFGSWO) with top professionals Amanda Tan and Koh Sock Hwee confirmed to compete in the national Open on home soil, organisers announced on Friday (Feb 16).

Elite national amateur players Aloysa Atienza, Jaymie Ng, Chen Xingtong and Jillian Kuk, who are all part of the Singapore Golf Association’s national squad, are also set to feature at the Tanah Merah Country Club’s championship Tampines Course, forming one of the largest local contingents in an international women’s golf event held here this year.

Golf fans can also look forward to seeing at least 108 golfers in action, with top players from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and South Korea expected to participate. The full list of players will be announced soon.

The 1 billion Won (S$1.1 million) HFGSWO is jointly sanctioned by the Singapore Golf Association (SGA) and Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) and will form a part of the Ladies Asian Tour Series.

Koh, who made the cut at the inaugural HFGSWO in 2022 and finished tied-28th, is delighted to compete in the tournament again. She said: “It is always an honour to be able to compete in a tournament at home. I’ve played in many places, but competing on home soil always hits different because it’s in a place you’re familiar with and you’re surrounded by fellow Singaporeans and that always manages to put me at ease. The first Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open was a great experience for me and I’m hoping to improve on my result from the previous tournament.”

Tan, who made history by becoming the first Singaporean to compete on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Epson Tour last year, is also relishing the chance to compete in front of the home crowd. She said: “I don’t get to play in Singapore very often so I’m looking forward to playing here where I’m more comfortable. 2023 was a challenging yet meaningful season for me. I learnt a lot from so many of the talented golfers I played with and I’ve grown a lot in the last year as well. Being able to compete against the top players in the KLPGA will be another good opportunity to further test myself and keep improving so I plan to make the most of it and do my best at the tournament.”

Teenager Chen, 15, will have a busy two weeks competing in two back-to-back professional tournaments ending with the HFGSWO. The 15-year-old clinched her first international title at the Selangor Amateur Open in 2023 and will be looking to make her mark on home ground after also qualifying for the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She said: “I’m very excited to be competing in my first national Open and it means a lot that it’s taking place at home where our friends and family can come and watch us in person. I still have a long way to go in the sport and being able to play in as many tournaments as possible against the top professionals will teach me a lot about playing styles and how to cope with the pressure we face in sport.”

Atienza is also keen to build on her tied-22th finish at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific earlier this month. She added: “I’m really excited for the return of the Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open next month. It’s always an honour to represent Singapore and compete against the region’s best players at such a high-profile event. I’m happy with the way I finished at WAAP as my result has shown that my game is heading in the right direction. I hope to build on that and continue this run at Tanah Merah.”