Congratulations on getting to the qualifiers!
This is your fifth time in this qualifier for the competition. It must be relieving to finally get the top prize.
Yes, it is my fifth time and it just makes everything sweeter!
How did you feel about your performance as you were playing?
Prior to the qualifiers, I knew I had to work on my short game, based on playing the qualifiers the last few years. I did some minor swing changes with my coach and everything was just coming together, so I felt really good. I knew that if my short game was good during the qualifiers, I could put in some decent scores. So, my goal for that week was just to enjoy the course and enjoy the game.
Were you more excited or relieved when you won the qualifier?
Indeed it is very exciting, and I am still very excited about it – even more so when the actual event starts drawing closer. Everything just feels so surreal, and I’m really glad I made it, especially since I’m not sure if HSBC is extending its contract to host it in Singapore. I sure hope they do! I really look forward to playing in the event, and I’m sure nerves would get into me on the first tee. I am trying to work on my mental game and not be too bothered by the crowds.
What was it about golf that drew you into the sport?
I used to follow my father to the driving range every weekend when I was younger. Initially, it was just the mere competition between my brothers and I on who could hit the furthest. Then, the competitive nature in me just wanted to learn the game and get better at it.
Before I started, I never thought I would play golf for so long. Now that I’m playing the game, I think I will never stop playing it. Playing competitive golf has shaped me into a stronger and more optimistic person in life. Not only do I learn the game, it has also taught me how to react to situations in life.
Can you beat your father in golf now, or do you still let him win?
I would give him strokes.
Ouch. Do friends groan whenever you suggest playing a round of golf with them?
Due to the complex nature of the game, I have never suggested playing a round of golf with my school friends. They would first have to be golfers before being allowed on the golf course. As for them groaning because I would be absent from school to play golf, I am assuming they do!
Is there any pressure to play the sport at a professional level?
Personally I feel there is no need to rush into playing professional golf unless you are ready. Being a sport that can be played till you’re much older – compared to other sports like running – there is absolutely no rush to turn professional. That said, it is definitely a privilege to be able to tee it up with the world’s best players in a few weeks’ time.
Have you been able to travel much for golfing?
Yep. I’ve been very lucky to have been selected to represent Singapore in various international tournaments, mostly South-East Asian countries like Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. I’ve also been to China, Finland and Australia for tournaments.
Do you remember your first hole-in-one?
I haven’t had one! I’m still waiting for it, and for sure I will remember it.
You’ve spoken in the past about following Tiger Woods’ five-step rule to dealing with a bad shot. Are there any techniques to relieve stress after a bad game?
A run or a nap usually does the work – something to get my mind off golf. After a bad game, I would go work on the things that have let me down during the game to feel more comfortable and gain my confidence back. Over the years, I have learnt that harping on it wouldn’t help, and it is better to look forward to a better game the next day.
What’s an average training day for you?
An average training day would consist of range work, chipping and putting. I try to work out at least twice a week as well.
Do you find it hard to practise with the unpredictability of Singaporean weather?
During practice, there are indoor driving ranges that we can go to whenever it rains. However, other countries like Australia have a more conducive training environment, with the presence of good facilities and availability of the golf course. In Singapore, it goes by timesheet, which allows us only to play at certain times. Together with the education system, it is almost impossible to play a round of golf on weekdays!
Are you excited to be playing against any particular international players?
I am definitely excited to be playing in the HSBC Women’s Champions 2012. It is like a dream come true. I would love to be paired with Yani Tseng. We first met when we were 14, in a tournament in Thailand. Back then, she was already a dominant figure in the amateur field, and turning professional to accomplish her goal of being world number one was just a matter of time. I am hoping to watch and learn from her game, and to get some advice on training regimes and schedules if I do get to play with her!
No matter what happens at the championship, what’s next on your sights? Are you hoping to play the international circuit?
The first thing is to graduate from NUS! I hope that some time in the near future I will be able to compete as a professional in the international circuit. But for now, I will still stick to amateur golf and hone my skills to be a better player.
HSBC Women’s Champions 2012 runs from 23-26 February at Tanah Merah Country Club.