Hong Kong's 16-year-old junior amateur golfer is a daddy's girl

Hong Kong's 16-year-old junior amateur golfer is a daddy's girl

South Island clubber Estee Vivian Leung says she was inspired by her father to play golf, and has learned her only real opponent is herself
A friendly coach, customised club and love of the game all boosted Estee's confidence.

Sometimes a sporting match can come down to the final minutes. The scores can be so close that game is won or lost at the last moment. For Estee Vivian Leung, that's what happens every time she plays.

The 16-year-old golfer from South Island School says it's the unpredictable nature of her sport which keeps her going. "Golf is a unique sport," she says. "You can never know who will win until the very last putt, and everyone has an equal chance of winning."

This difficulty makes victory even sweeter. "My favourite thing about golf is the satisfaction I get every time I win a tournament," says Estee. "It makes me feel that my hard work paid off."

Estee has been putting in long hours on the course since she was six years old. "My dad introduced me to the sport," she explains. "He's a golf coach, and would bring me to the driving range when I was small, which got me interested in playing."

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Being coached by your dad has its advantages, as Estee found out when she played in the Hong Kong Professional Golfers' Association Order of Merit series Leg 4 2015 last summer. "My father customised a driver - a No. 1 wood club - for me so that I would have better control of my drive down the fairway."

Whether it was the special driver, her dad's coaching, or just pure talent, Estee won the tournament with a score of 76-75.

"I was very surprised that I could win a professional tournament as a junior amateur golfer, even though I was three shots behind the leader - a professional player - in the first round," says Estee. "I didn't give up until the last shot and I won the tournament."

Estee knows that it's important not to give up in golf, since things can - wait for it - swing so quickly one way or the other. "Every time I make a bad shot, I have to keep calm and control my temper - being patient is key to recovering from it," she says. "As a tournament is usually about three days long, there's no point giving up after one bad round, because you never know what will happen tomorrow."

Ultimately, says Estee, her sport is a mental game against just one person. "In golf, you play against yourself, the course and the extreme weather, not your fellow opponent."

Bench Notes

What song/movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
Forgive by Rebecca Lynn Howard. My favourite line is "Forgive and forget". In golf, you always have to forgive yourself for hitting a bad shot or making a mistake, because everyone does. It is hard to avoid that. But you can forget about it afterwards.

You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
Flying. Since playing golf is very time consuming, being able to fly would speed up the game. Plus, I usually don't have enough energy or strength for the third round, as it's tiring to walk for three consecutive days. Being able to fly would allow me to perform well on the third day.

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything , what would it be and why?
Time because I could spend more of it practising golf. It takes about four to five hours to finish a round. More time, ie more practice, would make me a better player.

10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign-on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Biotherm, the skin care company, and I'd promote their sunscreen. I've used it on the golf course since childhood. I could encourage anyone who didn't want to play golf because of worries about skin damage that this product has protected my face for years.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Daddy's girl


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