Kelly Tan – Working her way up the ladies golf rankings and elevating Malaysia golf on the global scene


Kelly Tan is among the few Malaysian golfers who have already been making waves in the regional and global circuits. At 5 foot 5, Kelly has been playing golf since she was 12 years old where she was supported by her parents to pursue the sport throughout.

All-round sportswoman

Kelly is a very active person where she plays volleyball and plays the guitar as well. What makes her achievements so remarkable is the fact that she qualified for the Tour on her first attempt which was extremely remarkable for this golfer who could speak 3 different languages.

Early success on the local golf circuit

In the local circuit, Kelly Tan has been hugely successful as an amateur where she finished T13 at the Final Qualifying Tournament at the 2014 LPGA Tour season before turning pro after that. Apart from that, Kelly is a 3-time winner of the Malaysian Ladies Open which is considered an excellent achievement at that time.

Highs and lows in her golf career

Another decision she took was to skip the Myanmar SEA Games in 2013 to focus on the circuit in which she qualified for the LPGA Tour where she was a scholarship student under the Sime Darby Foundation to get her papers at the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida in the US. She trained with Australian Ian Triggs after graduation where she competed around Asia before setting her sights for the LPGA Tour. Having skipped the SEA Games to focus on what was at hand, she is ready for the big times to add on to the women’s team title of the Putra Cup in the Philippines, where she led the Malaysian team.

While Kelly enjoyed much success throughout her career, one of the lows came in 2014 when she lost her LPGA status after coming in tied-13th in the 2013 qualifying tournament. That prompted her to work harder and she has not looked back since. Kelly continued to work her way up the rankings and in 2020 moved more than 200 spots at the Womens’ World Golf Ranking. Started at 417 early that year, she finished strongly in 2020 at 151. That year also saw her at good finishing spots at the LPGA Drive On Championship.

Meanwhile, she also qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, representing Malaysia together with fellow Malaysian Pro Golfer Gavin Green. Among the amateur wins that she took before turning pro includes:

  • 2010 Selangor Amateur, Sarawak Amateur, Asian Schools Games
  • 2011 Selangor Amateur Open, Malaysian Ladies Amateur
  • 2012 Sabah Amateur Open, Santi Cup, Johor Amateur Open, TSM Challenge
  • 2013 Sarawak Amateur, Malaysian Amateur Open

As a professional golfer, Kelly has played in some of the top tournaments in the circuit which include:

  • KIA Classic
  • Lotte Championship
  • Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg
  • The US Women’s Open
  • Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give
  • ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open (Australia)

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