A force to be reckoned with

13 Aug 2019 / 11:23 H.

NATIONAL golfer Winnie Ng’s calmness on the course before a major tournament stems from experience – both winning and losing.

The amateur golfer with dreams of playing in the Olympics has won close to 100 competitions (she doesn’t keep count but luckily, her proud dad does).

Her first win of the year at the Tan Sri Muhyiddin (TSM) Challenge follows news of her well-deserved admission to the University of Washington in the US, also known for its highly competitive varsity sports teams.

“Winning is a good feeling, and of course, it’s a good record,” the 17-year-old student-athlete said. “But having to win after you fail a lot – ‘cause I have a rough patch every year, and whenever I’m down – I always tell myself, it’s part of life.”

She continued: “So I thought, okay, you just have to train harder and work harder to win, so whenever I do that, and whenever I win, after all the failures, I feel much more satisfied.”

What are you looking forward to most when you start classes?

“Definitely the college golf. There are a lot of conferences in America. I’m in the West Coast, and they recognise the West Coast as the Pac-12 conference. I will be playing against other universities, and that is one of the strongest fields for me. [This] opportunity to study there is just a blessing actually, so I will work hard, definitely. I want to make my team proud.”

How long have you dreamt of playing in the Olympics?

“I would say around [age] 7 or 8 actually ... Because way before I started [in golf], I was dreaming of being in the Olympics, but I had no idea what sport, it’s just that I wanted to play.

“Before 2016, [when golf was reinstated in the Summer Olympics], I always watched other sports like badminton, [or] swimming or volleyball. I always felt inspired ‘cause [I wanted] to be like them ... So ever since I started golf, I wanted to play in the Olympics, play in SEA Games, ASEAN Games, [where] I can represent my country and make my country proud. And I will be working really, really hard for it.”

You’ve always wanted to be an athlete.

“Yeah! Ever since I was young. I’m more like an outdoor person. I like trying new stuff, challenging myself with my friends or trying new sports and stuff.

“I’m planning on turning professional only after I graduate, but I already have my professional ranking even though I am an amateur ... but if I were to have the chance of being able to play in the sponsors, in like professional events or qualified to play ... I’ll work very hard to play in the Olympics cause that’s my dream, right.”

Who has influenced your playing style the most?

“When I was young it was Kelly Tan. She was a rookie in the LPGA, one of the biggest golfing touring circuit. But now she’s in the Symetra tour, it’s ranked just below, but still competitive. I’ve always [admired] her swing. It always seemed really perfect.

“And then, when I grew up – I still love her swing but I started to watch more golf channels, and I started to admire Lexi Thompson as well.

“Lexi Thompson is a professional who loves to give back to society, loves to share her experiences, loves to motivate people. Her swing is really powerful. The way she inspires people, that’s what I want to do as well when I’m as good as her ... She’s just someone that is so cheerful.”

What do you enjoy the most about playing golf?

“I enjoy a lot about playing golf, especially travelling. When I travel I meet more friends, meet more new friends, experience different cultures, and definitely tasting different food, you know .. and then, being able to play in a different environment like the different weather, different courses – I enjoy seeing different scenery and stuff.

“Actually, every course is a different scenery, different holes – cause we have 18 holes, right – different structures, and it’s all unique and challenging.”

So not one is the same?

“Not a single one is the same. That’s why, all the courses I’ve played in around the world, golf is just so unique. It’s not the same as other sports because of all the conditions, all the holes, it’s just so different.

“So when people say what sport is the hardest, I would say it’s golf because you have to think about the wind, the humidity, the slop, the everything. Just everything.”

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