KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — It’s been a tough year for professional golfer Kelly Tan, culminating in a week to forget — recap her sextuple bogey 10 on the par 4 18th on day one —at the recently concluded Sime Darby LPGA Championship.
The Johorian, who turned pro in 2014 and playing on the LPGA Tour ever since, finished in 70th place with a 17-over 301 (82-67-75-77) and has lost her tour card due to a poor season on the LPGA Tour.
It’s a stark contrast from 2016.
Kelly finished tied-30th at the US Women’s Open and tied-32 at the Women’s PGA Championships culminating in a 51st placing at the Rio Olympics, something she had yearned to do.
Her world ranking at the beginning of the year was 207. Now she’s ranked 339.
“I know this sounds negative but I’ve told a lot of people, you’ve got to put yourself in a tough position to be able to learn, like my 18th hole on day one,” recalled Kelly of her sextuple bogey 10 on the par 4 18th.
“You’ll never be able to feel that pressure unless you actually have done it before. That’s the biggest thing I learned.
“I felt like I rushed things a bit. Everything went fast-forward… times 10. I tried to slow things down but somehow I couldn’t. It’s something I have to work on.”
Back in Johor for a week’s break, the 24-year-old will spend time with her baby nephew before heading back to America for three weeks of solid preparations before the gruelling grind of Qualifying School (Q-School).
Q-School’s an avenue for budding golfers to attempt to make the cut for the illustrious LPGA Tour. Only players in the top 125 on the official money list at season’s end maintain cards for next year. Kelly’s at 149 with earnings of USD$25,966 (RM109,888) in 2017. She’s made six cuts out of 20 events compared to 15 cuts in 23 events last year.
However, she’s still young and has the qualities to bounce back with the right attitude and regaining confidence in her game.
“I spoke to Yani and she went through a downward spiral and said everybody is going to go down this hole somehow,” said Kelly of former world No 1 Yani Tseng who was the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five major championships and was ranked no 1 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings for 109 consecutive weeks from 2011 to 2013.
“You just have to learn to climb. Once you do, you’ll go very high. I’m just going to trust that this is as low as I can get. And I’m only going up from here.”
For one, Kelly’s chipping and putting were her saving grace. She’s working on her swing in search of greener pastures on the Tour.
Ernie Els is in Masters history with a sextuple bogey for a 10 on Hole 1 of Augusta, putting under two feet.