The KFC Golf Scholarship is supported by the proceeds from New Zealand Professional Women Golfers (NZPWG) annual Anita Boon Pro-Am tournament, held every year since 2009 and sponsored by KFC and Coca Cola Amatil Ltd. The scholarship is designed to help promising Kiwi women develop their game and fulfil their golfing potential on a major golfing tour.
The 2015 scholarship assisted 22 year old Cheng in her rookie year to compete on the Symetra Tour for a full season, where she featured in 17 events. Her year started quickly playing on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf tour which saw a maiden win in the ALPG Pro-Am alongside Australian Sarah Kemp in January last year.
Cheng then attended the LPGA tour school in late-2015 and progressed through to the third and final stage, where she missed the fourth-round cut.
Cheng’s impressive efforts last year have seen her secure full tour rights for the 2016 Symetra Tour – the self-described ‘Road to the LPGA’ – and this year’s KFC Golf Scholarship of $12,000 will assist her in her pursuit of a top-10 place on the Symetra Tour money list, and her ultimate goal of attaining a place on the prestigious LPGA tour.
“I am proud to be selected as the recipient of the 2016 KFC Golf Scholarship,” Cheng said.
“My 2015 Symetra Tour season would not have been possible without the financial support of the scholarship, and I aim to utilise the opportunity KFC and NZPWG have provided by striving towards to my goals.
“This KFC Golf Scholarship will enable me to compete in another full Symetra Tour season in 2016, which is a key stepping stone on my journey to the LPGA. I am truly grateful for the ongoing support of KFC and NZPWG.”
Cheng’s potential is matched only by her ambition. The Bachelor of Arts (Hons) graduate aspires to be the No.1 player in the world, while her immediate 2016 aspirations include playing alongside compatriot and current world No.1 Lydia Ko at the Rio Olympics.
Her attitude and drive has certainly been recognised by NZPWG, whose trustees unanimously voted Cheng as the scholarship winner ahead of two other strong candidates.
“We are thrilled to announce Liv Cheng as our 2016 recipient of the KFC Golf Scholarship,” NZPWG Trustee Liz McKinnon said.
“Liv displayed her self-belief and determination in grinding out a solid first season as a professional tour golfer, and we are delighted to be able to continue our support of her progress.
“I’m very confident the experience Liv gained during her debut season will help her rise up the ladder in 2016 and eventually reach the LPGA.”
Cheng’s upcoming schedule is jam-packed. Before rejoining the Symetra Tour, she will compete at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open at Christchurch’s renowned Clearwater Golf Club from February 12-14 – the first of three important women’s events Down Under this summer. The sophomore pro will endeavour to improve on her 22nd-place finish last year.
“It was a great privilege to take part in the 2015 Anita Boon Pro-Am,” Cheng added. “I sincerely appreciate the time and effort NZPWG and the sponsors, KFC and Coca-Cola Amatil, have dedicated to running the tournament, which makes the KFC Golf Scholarship opportunity possible.”