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Debut season on Epson Tour golf circuit was a struggle, but Amanda Tan still dreams of the LPGA

SINGAPORE – Desperate to find a solution after several missed cuts on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Epson Tour, Amanda Tan began to develop an unhealthy obsession with the game.

Golf consumed her life. She spent her days at the course and off it, conversations with her friends and family were all about her swing and her scores.

Invitations from friends to hang out were rejected as Tan was intent on solving her poor form.

But this fixation did not translate into lower scores. Instead, it affected her focus, leading to a drop in performance in even the stronger aspects of her game, like her irons and driver.

Tan, 24, said: “I’ll be in my own world thinking about golf and it was hard to break out of it and then throughout the whole week, it was just golf, golf, golf. It got to a point where I wasn’t really enjoying it.”

Life in her debut season on the United States-based Epson Tour has not been easy for Tan. She played 17 events in 2023 and missed the cut 13 times.

Her best finish was tied-23rd at the IOA Golf Classic in May and she collected US$5,641 (S$7,500) in total from the four tournaments where she earned any prize money.

Tan, who in December 2022 became the first Singaporean to earn a playing card on the LPGA’s developmental circuit, said: “It hurts because going into every event as a professional golfer, if you don’t make any cuts, you’re not making money for the week.

“It was a big hit because it was my first time playing on the Epson Tour and my dream has always been to be on the LPGA, so I started doubting myself and wondering if I’m even good enough to be here and if my game is even good (enough) to be on this stage.

“It wasn’t just missing the cuts, but a lot of the thoughts that came with it.”

Her lowest point came when she missed out narrowly on qualifying for the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II, the second of three stages to qualify for the top tier LPGA Tour.

But Tan credits a strong support system of friends, family and coaches for helping her through a tough year.

Towards the end of the season, she began travelling with Malaysian Ashley Lau, who like Tan also earned her Epson Tour status in 2022.

Friends she made while competing on the lower-tier Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) in 2022 also helped Tan realise she was not the only one struggling in the cut-throat world of professional golf.

The difficult campaign has offered some invaluable lessons for Tan.

She said: “I learnt that everyone is going to make mistakes and that making mistakes is okay.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to find a day that will be perfect, maybe I’ll just have that one day out of my entire career, I’ll never know.

“The biggest takeaway is that I’ve just got to go play. If it doesn’t work out that week, I’ll need to work on it and try again.”

She wraps up her season at the Dec 21-23 Asia Pacific Cup in Jakarta, but has her sights set on returning to the US in 2024 to play in Epson Tour and WAPT events.

Tan said: “My dream is still to play on the LPGA. Since I’ve taken a step in that direction, I don’t want to be coming back and playing in Asia just yet.

“I really enjoy playing in Asia because it’s so close to home, it’s very comfortable but being in the United States is a push, it’s a bit uncomfortable for me because it’s unfamiliar territory.

“But ultimately I know if I want to play on the LPGA and there’s a lot for me to learn, so I want to keep trying.”

More On This Topic

Not afraid of the big guns, national golfer Aloysa Atienza aims to turn pro

Golf: After creditable outing at HSBC event, S’pore’s Amanda Tan looks forward to debut season on Epson Tour

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