Shannon Tan becomes Singapore’s first golfer to qualify for the Olympics


Shannon Tan is the first golfer from Singapore to qualify for the Olympics. - TRISTAN JONES/LET

SINGAPORE: Growing up, Shannon Tan was often told that golf was an old man’s sport. Her determination to dispel that stereotype has been a strong motivator, propelling her to new heights in her career as she made her debut on the Ladies European Tour (LET) in 2024.

On Monday (June 24), the 20-year-old notched yet another milestone, this time securing her spot at the July 26-Aug 11 Paris Olympics – a first for a Singaporean golfer since the sport returned to the quadrennial event in Rio 2016.

Tan sealed her place in the 60-player field in the Olympic Golf Rankings and will feature at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, southwest of central Paris.

“The Olympics is such a special event, it is an incredible opportunity to qualify for the Olympics and compete against the very best in the world,” she said.

“It is the pinnacle of sport, and as such it would be a real honour to compete, and just be there in among such incredible athletes and sportspeople from different disciplines.”

Making it to the Paris Olympics never really crossed Tan’s mind until 2024, when she realised she had a chance to qualify.

While the Olympic Golf Rankings are based off the official world rankings, they are two separate systems.

The top 15 players in the world will be eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from each country.

Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

Playing on the LET earned Tan, who became the first Singaporean to play on the Tour as a full member, the ranking points required to qualify for the Olympics.

At the start of 2024, Tan decided to turn professional after taking a gap year from Texas Tech University to play on the LET.

Then she was ranked 702nd in the world and has moved more than 500 rungs up the rankings to world No. 181.

She had a dream start on the Tour, winning on her debut at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open in February.

Apart from her Kenya win, Tan also recorded top-15 finishes in four other official LET events, including a joint-third finish at the Ladies Italian Open earlier in June.

While she knew she had a shot at the Paris Games, Tan was not fixated on it and admitted to not checking the rankings often.

She said: “It hit me this year that I’ve got a chance for it (to make the Olympics). Because it goes off world rankings so if I play well, then my world rankings would be good enough.

“But the main goal for me was just to focus on playing well because once you do that, you qualify for a lot of things instantly.”

Tan is looking forward to her maiden Olympics as it presents an opportunity to play with and learn from some of the world’s best golfers, as well as athletes from other sports.

She is also keen to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy her time in the Olympic village.

She said: “Obviously I want to perform at my very best, but on top of that, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the very best, in golf and beyond, about preparation and about the importance of mental strength and focus and delivering in the heat of the moment.

“Honestly this is such an exciting opportunity for me, at the start of my professional career, to learn from some incredible talent, not just in golf but in other areas.”

Singapore Golf Association president Tan Chong Huat hailed Tan’s achievement, saying: “Our entire golf community in Singapore is beyond thrilled that Shannon is going to be our first golf Olympian when the competition starts in August.

“She has shown immense talent and potential to be a world-class player from a very young age. We are now looking forward to following her progress at the Games and wish her every success.”

Women’s Olympic Field (World ranking)

United States - Nelly Korda (1), Lilia Vu (2), Rose Zhang (9)

South Korea - Ko Jin-young (3), Amy Yang (5), Kim Hyo-joo (13)

China - Yin Ruoning (4), Lin Xiyu (15)

France - Celine Boutier (6), Perrine Delacour (75)

Australia - Hannah Green (7), Minjee Lee (11)

Britain - Charley Hull (8), Georgia Hall (36)

Japan - Yuka Saso (10), Miyu Yamashita (19)

Thailand - Atthaya Thitikul (12), Patty Tavatanakit (25)

Canada - Brooke Henderson (14), Alena Sharp (292)

New Zealand - Lydia Ko (17), Momoka Kobori (293)

Sweden - Maja Stark (21), Linn Grant (26)

Spain - Carlota Ciganda (30), Azahara Munoz (109)

Ireland - Leona Maguire (32), Stephanie Meadow (134)

South Africa - Ashleigh Buhai (41), Paula Reto (196)

India - Aditi Ashok (60), Diksha Dagar (167)

Mexico - Gaby Lopez (62), Maria Fassi (186)

Germany - Esther Henseleit (64), Alexandra Forsterling (69)

Switzerland - Albane Valenzuela (70), Morgane Metraux (127)

Denmark - Emily Kristine Pedersen (87), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (106)

Chinese Taipei - Chien Peiyun (88), Hsu Wei-ling (161)

Netherlands - Anne van Dam (108), Dewi Weber (302)

Philippines - Bianca Pagdanganan (113), Dottie Ardina (298)

Belgium - Manon de Roey (154)

Austria - Emma Spitz (178)

Singapore - Shannon Tan (181)

Norway - Celine Borge (187), Madelene Stavnar (307)

Czech Republic - Klara Davidson Spilkova (192), Sara Kouskova (290)

Colombia - Mariajo Uribe (198)

Italy - Alessandra Fanali (211)

Malaysia - Ashley Lau (279)

Finland - Ursula Wikstrom (286), Noora Komulainen (301)

Slovakia - Ana Belac (288)

Morocco - Ines Laklalech (321) - The Straits Times/ANN

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