Closing it Out

Seventeen-year-old Michelle Cheung wins first Ladies Close title and earns a place in the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Hainan

Michelle Cheung Wing-yee won the Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship – and with it a spot in this month's World Ladies Championship – after an accomplished display in the final round at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in late February.

South Island School student Cheung, 17, closed with a solid 73 over the scenic clifftop layout for a three-day total of 227 and a two-shot advantage over fellow Hong Kong international Kitty Tam Yik-ching, 17, in second. Michelle Lee Ching-suet showed she will be one to watch in the future, the 14-year-old claiming third place, eight shots further back.

"I was nervous over the first couple of holes but I was able to par both of them, which calmed me down, and I was pretty steady after that," said Cheung, who started the round with a slender one-shot lead over Tam. "I only knew I was leading after the 17th hole, which probably helped, but it's definitely a great feeling to win."

Cheung, who will attend the University of Wisconsin - Madison on a golf scholarship later this year and had Hong Kong men's international Terrence Ng on her bag, played the dangerous final hole impeccably. A long drive at the par-five closer was followed by a lay-up and a fine pitch to within 10 feet of the flag. Two putts later and she was declared the champion.

The World Ladies Championship, a Ladies European Tour event which will feature three of the world's top 10 players – Inbee Park, Shanshan Feng and Suzann Pettersen – will be played at Mission Hills Hainan from 7-10 March, and Cheung will be one of only six amateurs to take their place in the elite field.

"Whatever happens there it will be a amazing experience," said Cheung, who was informed of her berth by Mission Hills Group Executive Director Iain Roberts after holing the winning putt. "I can't believe it's happening in two weeks; I'm going to need to practice!"

"At Mission Hills we're very keen to keep growing the game, so we're delighted to be able to offer Michelle a place in the World Ladies Championship," said Roberts. "I'm sure she'll do well and take a great deal away from the tournament."

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