PETALING JAYA: It will be a dream come true of sorts for sisters Norezrina Alisa and Noraishah Alisa Che Omar – when they get their first taste of a world-class action at the KLPGA Hana Financial Group Championship in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, today.
Playing in the 1.5bil won (RM5.23mil) event on sponsors’ invite, Norezrina (19) and Noraishah (21) see the tournament as a huge stepping stone towards realising their ultimate goal of competing on the US LPGA Tour.
For Norezrina, her excitement is understandable as the Championship marks the biggest start of her career since turning professional in 2018.
She is hoping to draw inspiration from playing alongside some of the world’s biggest names such as Major winners Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Lee Min-jee of Australia at the Adonis Country Club in Pocheon.
“This is the most prestigious tournament we have ever played in, and it’s only right for us to make the most of it,” said Norezrina, who won the PGM Bukit Jawi Ladies Open in Penang for her sole pro win in 2019.
“It’s unbelievable that we’re able to get such a great opportunity in the midst of the pandemic.
“We have encountered some complications with travel arrangements, but thanks to the assistance from the Youth and Sports Ministry and Malaysian Ladies Amateur Golf Association, we’re able to fly there this week.
“This makes us cherish this opportunity even more and we’re eager to put on a good show to justify their faith in us.
“Playing in such a massive tournament is certainly a stepping stone for us.”
While some of her peers have opted to secure scholarship to study and play collegiate golf in the United States, Norezrina believes she too can create her own path to ply her trade on American soil by training back home.
“I don’t see it as a problem. We can do just the same by staying in Malaysia. I’m going to give it another six years, hopefully by 25 I will become a fully established pro,” said the Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) student.
Norezrina and Noraishah are among six ‘Asian Prospects’ invitees include Singapore’s Shannon Tan and the Thai trio of Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong, Onkanok Soisuwan and Jaravee Boonchant.
The “Asian Prospects” campaign is an initiative by Hana Financial Group to provide emerging female golfers the opportunity to compete in international tournaments.
“This pandemic has been a great challenge for all. I never thought such an event will take place during this time. I’m amazed they have made it possible,” said Noraishah.
“Now that I have the opportunity to participate in this historic tournament, I’m just so excited and looking forward to tee off,” said the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia student.