Recent Xiamen International Ladies Open champion, Anne Van Dam from the Netherlands, remained in China to prepare for the Sanya Ladies Open, which will take place at Yalong Bay Golf Club from Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th October.
The 21-year-old from Arnhem was reunited with her mother, Narda, who joined her for a fortnight’s holiday in tropical Yalong Bay after her victory.
Narda, who is an air ambulance pilot, will caddie for her daughter for only the second time next week following their success together at the 2015 HLR Golf Academy Open in Finland.
“It’s going to be a lot of good fun,” Anne said. “My mum’s not really into golf that much but very supportive of me. She wants to come every week but I always say, just let me do my thing. Because I had a week off in between, she said well I can come to meet you and stay for two weeks for the tournament.
“Last year, it was special, because we didn’t really talk about golf, we just played the course and had good fun. It worked out well, but we’ll see what will happen now.”
This will be Anne’s second time in Sanya and her fourth start in China, following Xiamen and Sanya in 2015, which was her rookie season as a professional.
Looking ahead to the Sanya Ladies Open, she said: “The course suited me really well last year and I finished tied for 20th place. I’ll have a good practise week and rest. It’s a good course and it suits me because I can hit a lot of drivers and the par-5s are reachable, like they were at Orient Golf Club.
“This year, the goal was to finish in the top 35 of the ranking and win a tournament, and I did it. I try to win every week I play. This year had been a disappointment but now it’s a great year.”
Van Dam says that she enjoys playing in China: “It’s so crazy to see all the spectators. There were so many people watching and I think they love the sport down here. Everyone was cheering and that’s the great thing about China: golf is so big. In Europe, there’s nothing like it, than playing here in China and seeing all the Chinese players and Korean players.”
Competing in the Olympic golf competition at Toyko 2020 is now her major aim, after being left out of Rio 2016 when her National Olympic Committee declined to send her due to her being outside the world’s top 100.
“I watched the Olympics because a lot of my friends were competing and it was good to see some Europeans do quite well. What can I do? Not much. In four years, in Tokyo, it’s going to be a big achievement for me to go there and try to win a medal. Since I missed Rio, that’s the number one thing: on top of my bed, it says ‘Tokyo 2020’ (on a poster). Until I was 14 I used to swim, short distances, so I always saw the Olympics through that and I wanted to make the Olympics with swimming. With golf now being in, it’s crazy.”
Following her win in Xiamen, Van Dam moved up 74 places to 258 on the official Women’s World Golf Rankings and into 20th position on the LET Order of Merit, with five qualifying tournaments still to be played in 2016.