Kiwi golfer Liv Cheng qualifies for US Open - her first Major
New Zealand's No.2-ranked female golfer Liv Cheng has qualified for her first Major - July's US Open - after surviving a tense three-way, five-hole play-off at a qualifying tournament in Texas.
The 22-year-old Taiwan-born Aucklander claimed the second and final available qualifying spot by shading Lisa McCloskey (USA) and the Netherlands' Christel Boeljon in a thrilling finale at the Woodlands Country Club on Thursday.
Cheng held her nerve after 36 holes of strokeplay to join world No.1 Lydia Ko as New Zealand's representatives when the Open is staged at CordeValle in California from July 7.
36hole qualifier at 6600yards with an extra 5playoff holes.. I've officially earned a spot in… https://t.co/2rNHlKVT2o— Liv Cheng (@livycheng) May 19, 2016
She overcame an inconsistent opening round of 75 by charging up the leaderboard with a superb 4-under 68 that left three three strokes adrift of Mexican Maria Gabriela Lopez Butron.
Cheng, who spent four years at Pepperdine College in the US until graduating in 2014, was awarded the Anita Boon scholarship last year which enabled her to join the Symetra Tour in her rookie year - a valuable experience leading into this season.
Ko is already assured of representing New Zealand at the Rio Olympics in August, where golf makes its debut, and will likely be joined by Cheng if she produces a strong performance at her maiden Major at the layout south of San Francisco near San Jose.
Cheng's other goals are to finish in the top-10 on the Symetra Tour and secure a LPGA Tour card for 2017.