Vietnam Junior Golf Champion Has What It Takes

31 July 2013

Laguna Lang Co, Vietnam, July 31 -- The transition from being a top junior golfer to the professional ranks is tough, littered with aspirants who fell by the wayside. But one young Vietnamese female golfer may have what it takes to make the next big step.

Last weekend, 20-year-old Ngo Bao Nghi showed she has the game, the mindset and experience as a top junior to eventually achieve her goal of becoming a professional player.

In winning Vietnam’s Faldo Series Championship for the fourth time, Nghi is on track to become only her country’s second professional female golfer and perhaps follow in the footsteps of Taiwanese superstar, Yani Tseng.

Nghi, who shot 70-73 for a one-over par score of 143 in the 36-hole event, has now won every Faldo Series Championships held in Vietnam. Her score was four better than the boys’ Under-16 winner, Truong Ch Quan, and seven ahead of the boys’ Under-21 champion, Do Le Gia Dat.

An aspiring professional player who is on a golf scholarship at Lamar University in Texas, Nghi – who hails from Vung Tau in south-east Vietnam – will now play in the Faldo Series finals at Mission Hills China next March.

She has a chance to emulate Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, a previous Faldo Series grand final winner (in 2005), who since turning pro in 2007 has accumulated 26 professional wins including five Majors.

Nghi’s victory at the new Laguna Lang Co course, designed by Sir Nick Faldo who personally opened the challenging par-71 layout in March, was also a win for junior golf development in Vietnam.

Laguna Lang Co Golf Club has agreed to sponsor the Faldo Series, held in conjunction with the Vietnam Junior Championships, for the next two years and is planning to foster junior golfers in the Central Coast area.

General manager, Tim Haddon, said he was so impressed with the enthusiasm of youngsters who attended a golf clinic last Friday, before the championship event was held, that he intends training selected boys and girls from the local community for next year’s competition.

“The only way an emerging golf nation like Vietnam can produce top players is to have a solid junior program. As Vietnam’s newest golf course, we would like to play our part in this development, so we will host the Faldo Series for the next two years, as well as provide facilities and tuition to ensure more young golfers have a chance to progress. Ngo Bao Nghi is an example of the talent that exists in Vietnam.”

If she makes it to the professional ranks, Nghi will become Vietnam’s second female professional golfer. The first was Brianna Do, who was raised by her Vietnamese parents in California and joined the US LPGA Tour last year.

After her latest victory, Nghi said she aspires to become a professional player, but intends to complete her college golf, then “see where I am when that is done”.

“I found the course very challenging with tough green complexes and tight fairways, but really enjoyed playing the layout,” she added.

Another important outcome of the Faldo Series and Vietnam Junior Championships at Laguna Lang Co is the resort’s support of a community project to install reverse osmosis water filtration systems in five local schools.

The commitment includes three years’ supply of fresh filters and maintenance, as well as hygiene training to help limit water and sanitation-related diseases, which are common in Vietnam.

Courtesy of Paul Myers, Asian Travel Media.