Chen Xingtong, 15, wins qualifier to earn debut at HSBC Women’s World Championship, Latest Golf News - The New Paper

Chen Xingtong, 15, wins qualifier to earn debut at HSBC Women’s World Championship

A revolution was going on in Chen Xingtong’s head as she made her way around Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course on Jan 25, even though the Singaporean golfer cut a calm and composed figure on the greens.

Singing tunes from the musical Hamilton – which covers the life of United States’ founding father Alexander Hamilton and his involvement in the American Revolution – to herself were what got the 15-year-old through the second round of the national qualifier for the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

Going into the final day with a four-stroke lead, her unusual method helped Xingtong keep calm as flight mates Amanda Tan and Aloysa Atienza trailed closely behind.

She shot a two-over 74 to card an even-par 144 total to finish four strokes ahead of her rivals and to earn a coveted debut at the US$1.8 million (S$2.4 million) tournament, which will be held from Feb 29-March 3 at Sentosa.

Fellow amateur Atienza (74) and professional Tan (72), who has made five appearances at the HSBC event, were tied second with a four-over 148 total.

The Singapore Sports School student said: “It kept my mind off the scores and focused on individual shots instead of scoring.

“I didn’t want to focus on other people and try to compare myself to their shots and scores so singing Hamilton is just one of the ways to do that.”

Xingtong had no expectations going into the qualifying event, but she enjoyed a good start on Jan 24 with a two-under 70 that included four birdies and two bogeys , making her the only golfer in the nine-player field to go under par in the first round.

She posted bogeys on the 10th and 18th in the second round but held on to her lead to emerge the winner.

She said: “I’m really excited and a bit nervous. I’ve achieved my dream of being able to play in an LPGA Tour event, which is a big goal of mine.

“It’s my first time, I’m anticipating it. It’s a lot of emotions, I don’t know how to put it into words.”

Just a year ago, Xingtong had watched some of the world’s best golfers, including Thailand’s world No. 10 Atthaya Thitikul, in action from outside the ropes.

Now, she is relishing the opportunity to play alongside and learn from these LPGA stars.

“It’ll be a great chance to be able to compare myself with them and learn how they play to improve my game,” said the 1.72m competitive swimmer turned golfer, whose goal is to make the cut.

“It was great (to follow them in 2023) but now that I’m able to play on the course that day, it’ll be a totally different experience.”

Singapore Golf Association assistant general manager Samuel Nee noted that Xingtong, who won her first international title at the Selangor Amateur Open golf championship in 2023, is a rare talent.

He said: “Her ability to cut out things is good. She’s able to get into the zone and focus.

“They were playing with tournament tees for the qualifiers so to be able to shoot a respectable even-par over two days speaks volumes because she has the length and the finesse around the greens.

“We’re quite excited to see where she can go.”

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