Hong Kong’s ‘Super Duo’ has title in sights at Asian-Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championship
A mixed gender “super duo” will spearhead Hong Kong’s campaign in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championship – Mitsubishi Corporation Cup beginning on Wednesday.
Taichi Kho and Chloe Chan Cheuk-yee are widely recognised as the city’s top golf prospects and will team up in the tournament that will employ a new format based on the Youth Olympic Games.
This year’s tournament, the largest to date, will see a record 38 teams from 20 countries competing at the Hong Kong Golf Club for three days. China and Macau are among the newcomers, with four European Golf Association players also competing.
Kho, 16, comes off a stunning win at the Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship in Hainan, China. He had earlier defended his Hong Kong Junior Close Championships title in April. It is his first time competing in a mixed gender tournament.
“We have the home advantage, so we know where to hit and where not to. [The opponents] didn’t get a practice round in, so we will use everything to our advantage,” said the Discovery College student.
“There is definitely pressure, but our team is really strong this year. I’ve really enjoyed playing alongside Chloe. She’s probably one of the best female players in Hong Kong.”
At the tender age of 13, Chan is already gaining attention after dominant performances in the Hong Kong Junior Close championships, where she has performed well in various age categories. Although she’s more at home playing on the Fanling course, she remains cautious.
“Even though I’ve played this course so many times, there are different challenges that comes with each tournament,” explains the King George V School student. “Right now, I feel very comfortable in all tournaments. I have been performing well in Asia and the United States.”
On the third and final day, the players will split and compete individually in their respective genders. Last year’s men’s individual champion Jed Morgan of Australia is competing in the city for the first time to defend his title.
“As we haven’t played a practice round, we don’t really know how the ball is reacting. But we have walked the course and will implement a game plan,” said the 17-year-old.
Morgan is the third-ranked junior in Australia and recently won the Singapore Junior Golf Championship boys title and remains unfazedby the grainier East Asian courses.
“It’s a great course. Considering the amount of rain Hong Kong just had, you’ve done an amazing job. It looks pretty tough, so I’ll be using a lot of irons off the tees to keep in play. You want to avoid the trees,” he said.
The individual male winner will be invited to the Asia-Pacific Golf Championship Diamond Cup 2017 in Japan in September, and the individual female winner will be invited to the 2018 Korea Women’s Open in June 2018. The tournament will also be offering world ranking points for the first time.