PETALING JAYA: An encouraging display at the just-concluded Lotte Championship could not have come at a better time for Kelly Tan.
The 27-year-old will be bidding to qualify for her fourth US Women’s Open through the one-day qualifier at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links in California on Monday.
It is one of the 22 qualifying events to be conducted across the US and in Japan between April 26-May 13, where a whopping 1,595 participants from 57 countries will be vying to make up the 156-woman field in the second Major of the year, scheduled for June 3-6 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
The 76th edition of the US Women’s Open boast the most lucrative prize fund in women’s golf calendar this year with US$5.5mil (RM22.69mil) up for grabs.
Kelly will have to compete for the coveted spots with more than 70 other golfers at the Half Moon Bay qualifier.
The number of berths made available will only be disclosed during the event and Kelly knows very well that she has to finish inside the top-five to stand a chance.
She’s no stranger to the qualifier which will be played under a gruelling 36-hole format. She was successful in her two previous attempts in 2014 and 2016.
In 2014, she finished tied-fourth at the Dunwoody Country Club in Georgia and was tied-first to be one of the four successful candidates from the Twin Hills Country Club in Massachusetts two years later.
Kelly also made the playing field for last year’s US Women’s Open but through her position on the LPGA Tour’s Official Money List.
The organisers did away with the traditional qualifier due to uncertainties caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s certainly a big goal of mine (to qualify for the US Women’s Open), ” said Kelly, who finished tied-22nd with a brilliant 15-under total in Hawaii last week.
“This is one of the most difficult Major events to get in. Only the world’s top-75 qualified automatically, otherwise you have to fight it out with the rest through qualifiers. One day, 36 holes, only one attempt.
“But I qualified twice through these Sectionals (qualifiers) previously, so I know I have what it takes to succeed again.
“The only difference is the course. But it helps knowing you have accomplished it before.”
Kelly made her first Major event appearance of the year at the ANA Inspiration last month, finishing tied-63rd.
Last year, she played in all four Majors, with her best outing being a tied-13th placing at the Women’s PGA Championship. Her feat marked the best-ever Major finish by a Malaysian – man or woman.