New Zealand’s second ranked female golfer Liv Cheng has battled through an intense five hole playoff at the Woodlands Country Club in Texas to qualify for her first Major Championship, the US Open.

The top two qualifiers earnt a place in the US Open on July 7 and behind the overall winner, Maria Gabriela Lopez Butron of Mexico, Liv Cheng found herself in a three way tie for second place after 36 holes of stokeplay.

After a gruelling playoff which was then delayed due to darkness and forced to return the next day, Cheng finally did enough to fend off her opponents with a clinical up and down to realise a dream had come true.

“It feels awesome! I have played the US Women's Open qualifier in previous years with no success. It's so great to finally see my game come together and get the results I've been working towards,” said Cheng.

“I just have to keep being persistent and I'll be competing with the best in the world more often. This will be the biggest event I've ever played with the purse at $4.5 million.”

“The playoff was definitely nerve racking but I was just glad I still had a chance to get that final spot. It was very intense and both of us knew how much was on the line. The US Women's Open is one of the biggest events of the year and getting a spot in the field is a huge achievement in itself. It was very hard not to think about it overnight especially when I missed a 4 footer for birdie to win on the second playoff hole so I was pretty restless. I got very little sleep that night but I managed to come back in the morning and get the job done.”

Cheng opened her account with a rusty first round 75, but she then charged her way up the leaderboard in the second round carding the low round of the day with an impressive four under par 68.

Cheng has spent four successful years at Peperdine College in the US and was also awarded a KFC scholarship in back to back years. The 2015 scholarship assisted the 22 year old in her rookie year to compete on the Symetra Tour for a full season, where she featured in 17 events.
KFC awarded this scholarship with the aim to fulfil golfing potential on a major golfing tour and it is clearly working in 2016 after Cheng gained entry into the US Open.

Her main goal is to make the top ten on the Symetra Tour, which acts in the same manner as the Tour, to hopefully secure herself a LPGA Tour card.

“I feel that I have the game to compete with the world's best but I still have a lot of room for improvement to consistently perform at a high level. I'm just going to keep doing more of what I've been doing, working on all parts of my game technically, physically and mentally, I feel that I'm going in the right direction.”

Starting on July 7, there will be two young golfer’s now representing New Zealand on the biggest stage in women’s golf with Cheng joining the obvious world number one, Lydia Ko.




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