Top Chinese Taipei amateur Cheng Ssu-Chia, 17, won the inaugural Xiamen Open on her Ladies European Tour debut when she fired a final round 68 in hot and sunny conditions at Orient (Xiamen) Golf and Country Club in China.

Cheng made a par on the last hole for a 54-hole total of 10 under par and a three stroke victory over French professional Marion Ricordeau, who earned the €37,500 first prize cheque due to Cheng’s amateur status.

Cheng said that she was nervous, but she looked calm and confident throughout the tournament before she collected her fourth professional victory, as she already had three titles on the Taiwan LPGA Tour.

“Actually I was pretty nervous today in my heart, inside myself. For the last part my heart was like, ‘boom, boom, boom,’ so I tried to stay calm,” she said. It’s the first time I’ve played in a Ladies European Tour tournament so I feel it was a challenge to myself and made me play well. I did not have high expectations entering this week. I thought it would be a great result if I finished in the top 10.”

She rated her Xiamen Open win as the finest moment of her already successful career, having earned the silver medal at the Youth Olympics and Asian Games in 2014.

Cheng became the seventh amateur to win on the Ladies European Tour and the fourth to win on the China LPGA, as the tournament was co-sanctioned. The last amateur to win on the LET was Lydia Ko at the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open in February 2013.

Cheng said: “I am excited that I finally won because LET players are very competitive. So far it’s my largest win. I played great this week. I should thank Orient Golf and CLPGA for the invitation extended to me.”

Having held a three-way share of the lead overnight, Cheng took control of the tournament from the first hole, which she birdied to move one ahead of the field. She then birdied the third and fourth holes to go three strokes clear. Her only mistake was on the sixth green, where she three-putted, but she held her lead throughout, making further short birdie putts on holes nine and ten before coming in with eight pars on the back nine.

The World No.22 amateur Cheng is one of the most exciting young players in golf and China LPGA Chairman TK Penn presented her with a cake on the 18th green to celebrate her achievement.

After a final round of 69 for a seven under par total, Ricordeau was even more delighted with her career best result of second and she said: “I wasn’t nervous the first two rounds but I was today and I didn’t play really good the first nine holes. I didn’t hit it well and my contacts were poor but something changed on the course when I realised I was on the leader board. I thought, ‘there’s a chance you can do something, so do something and go for it!’ I played better on the back nine and holed some putts. I knew I was playing better than the last few months but I didn’t know China, I’ve never been to China before so I was a little bit worried about this big trip. I worked well so I’m really happy.”

Fellow Frenchwoman Alexandra Vilatte and Beth Allen of the United States shared third place on six under par, while a stroke further back in joint fifth were England’s Liz Young, Joanna Klatten of France and China’s Lin Xi Yu, winner of the previous week’s Sanya Ladies Open.

This was Vilatte’s best finish of the season so far and she said: “I had great putting all week so that saved me and my short game was okay but I had some trouble with my driving. I was on the fairways but not very far. I’m happy because I had a very bad week last week and I trained a lot at the beginning of the week so I’m happy with the result.”

Allen has finished third or tied third three times this year on the LET and she said: “I played really well today. I had one bad shot on the last but other than that it was really solid so I was happy with that. 10 under for Cheng is a pretty good score.”

Runner up Marion Ricordeau (centre) with Alexandra Vilatte (left) and Beth Allen (right) who tied for third

Australian Sarah Kemp ended in eighth spot after a 68, while Lin Tzu Chi of Chinese Taipei and Scotland’s Vikki Laing shared ninth.

England’s Charley Hull had a final round of 72 to end in share of 11th place with five other players including second round co-leaders Connie Chen of South Africa and Chloe Leurquin from Belgium.

 

Final scores:

206 – Ssu-Chia Cheng (TPE)  70 68 68

209 – Marion Ricordeau (FRA)  72 68 69

210 – Alexandra Vilatte (FRA)  70 70 70, Beth Allen (USA)  69 71 70

211 – Liz Young (ENG)  69 71 71, Xi Yu Lin (CHN)  71 70 70, Joanna Klatten (FRA)  72 68 71

212 – Sarah Kemp (AUS)  72 72 68

213 – Tzu Chi Lin (TPE)  74 69 70, Vikki Laing (SCO)  72 67 74

214 – Titiya Plucksataporn (THA)  72 69 73, Charley Hull (ENG)  73 69 72, Maria Hernandez (ESP)  71 72 71, Connie Chen (RSA)  68 70 76, Chloe Leurquin (BEL)  70 68 76, Cassandra Kirkland (FRA)  72 73 69

215 – Wichanee Meechai (THA)  71 76 68, Pamela Pretswell (SCO)  72 72 71, Yu Ting Shi (CHN)  71 73 71, Pei-Yun Chien (TPE)  76 69 70, Sahra Hassan (WAL)  72 74 69, Li Qing Chen (CHN)  70 72 73, Nikki Garrett (AUS)  69 70 76

216 – Meng-Chu Chen (TPE)  71 72 73, Stacy Lee Bregman (RSA)  75 72 69, Lydia Hall (WAL)  75 71 70

217 – Valentine Derrey (FRA)  75 72 70, Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro (THA)  72 73 72, Minea Blomqvist (FIN)  70 70 77, Michelle Koh (MYS)  75 68 74, Becky Brewerton (WAL)  72 75 70

218 – Becky Morgan (WAL)  71 71 76, Malene Jorgensen (DEN)  72 72 74, Florentyna Parker (ENG)  73 72 73, Tiranan Yoopan (THA)  72 70 76, Jade Schaeffer (FRA)  71 70 77, Jienalin Zhang (CHN)  75 69 74, Caroline Martens (NOR)  70 71 77, Ashleigh Simon (RSA)  71 73 74

219 – Aunchisa Utama (THA)  75 71 73, Qi Feng Xiao (CHN)  73 74 72, Rebecca Artis (AUS)  71 70 78, Maha Haddioui (MAR)  76 69 74, Pan Pan Yan (CHN)  72 72 75, Kylie Walker (SCO)  71 73 75, Eleanor Givens (ENG)  74 73 72

220 – Saraporn Chamchoi (THA)  74 70 76, Aretha Pan (MYS)  73 73 74, Rungthiwa Pangjan (THA)  74 75 71, Gwladys Nocera (FRA)  72 75 73

221 – Ann-Kathrin Lindner (GER)  73 73 75, Caroline Afonso (FRA)  75 70 76, Nikki Campbell (AUS)  75 74 72, Noora Tamminen (FIN)  69 77 75, Hong Tian (CHN)  74 73 74, Hannah Burke (ENG)  72 73 76, Whitney Hillier (AUS)  74 73 74

222 – Ursula Wikstrom (FIN)  74 70 78, Kusuma Meechai (THA)  76 71 75, Stephanie Na (AUS)  71 76 75

223 – Louise Larsson (SWE)  74 75 74

224 – Dan Li (CHN)  79 70 75, Holly Aitchison (ENG)  76 73 75, Klara Spilkova (CZE)  72 76 76

228 – Hsuan-Ping Chang (TPE)  77 72 79

229 – Alison Whitaker (AUS)  77 72 80, Mireia Prat (ESP)  73 75 81