| Interview

Louie Chan talks to Ben Wong, who claimed re­cent vic­tory in the 2017 U.S. Ama­teur Four-Ball Cham­pi­onship with play­ing part­ner Frankie Ca­pan. Ben was born in Hong Kong and joined the HKGA ju­nior pro­gramme at an early age. He has lived the last three years

HK Golfer - - Contents - Interview by Louie Chan

Ben Wong talks about his vic­tory in the 2017 U.S. Ama­teur Four-Ball Cham­pi­onship with play­ing part­ner Frankie Ca­pan.

Louie Chan: It’s a tough win for you guys al­ways be­ing one down. Did you feel the sim­i­lar spirit like Payne Ste­wart came back to beat Mick­el­son in 1999 there? Ben Wong: The four-ball is a tough test for all com­peti­tors. We had two rounds of stroke play and five matches to get the tro­phy. Even though we were down in two or three games, we stayed pretty pa­tient out there, know­ing that any­thing could hap­pen in four­ball. I think at a tough course like Pine­hurst, the most re­silient play­ers will al­ways hang up at the top: that’s what Payne was liked. His spir­its were felt.

LC: When was the mo­men­tum changer for you guys?

BW: The mo­men­tum changer was prob­a­bly the birdie on 10th. It was a tough hole with a tough pin. It was some­thing about the back nine that treated us well all week. Once I made birdie on 10th, we knew how to close out the rest.

LC: Were the hole lo­ca­tions tough in the fi­nal? They were as the same as in the pre­vi­ous U.S. Opens (1999, 2005 and 2014).

BW: The hole lo­ca­tions were very tough. How­ever, it was fun know­ing that we played the course as tough as pos­si­ble. It was tough get­ting the ball close to the hole, es­pe­cially with a long iron. I was for­tu­nate enough to putt well that week, es­pe­cially in the match play. We knew that if we kept giv­ing our­selves good looks, a bunch of birdies would fall.

LC: Frankie Ca­pan is your play­ing part­ner and best friend. How did you guys meet?

BW: Frankie and I met at a tour­na­ment called “Pars” when we were 7. I shot a 66 in the fi­nal round there with Frankie, and he shot a 64 in the se­cond round of the tour­na­ment. Ever since we met up ev­ery sum­mer, we played ju­nior golf. Frankie cad­died for me at the US ju­nior in 2013. We’ve been best friends ever since.

LC: You have com­mit­ted to play at South­ern Methodist Univer­sity in 2018. What’s your ex­pec­ta­tion of play­ing col­lege golf?

BW: Col­lege golf has been some­thing I’ve looked for­ward to for quite a while. The col­lege level is much more com­pet­i­tive than the ju­nior level, but I’m ex­cited to test my abil­ity with the best. I don’t have many ex­pec­ta­tions for my­self go­ing into col­lege. I’m just try­ing to take things one step at a time, be pa­tient and en­joy it.

LC: How did the Hong Kong Golf As­so­ci­a­tion ju­nior pro­gramme help you to be­come a suc­cess­ful golfer?

BW: I joined the HKGA pro­gramme when I was lit­tle. The HKGA is a great pro­gramme that pro­motes golf to ju­niors in the right way. The pro­gramme led me to the right direction. I got op­por­tu­ni­ties to play in the U.S. against the best ju­nior golfers in the world. The top tier coaches at the HKGA en­grained my solid fun­da­men­tals at a young age. With­out all the sup­port from the HKGA, I wouldn’t be where I’m at to­day.

Frankie Ca­pan (left) and Ben Wong with the tro­phy at the end of match play at the 2017 U.S. Ama­teur Four-Ball

Ben and Frankie met at a tour­na­ment when they were 7, played ju­nior golf ev­ery sum­mer and have been best friends ever since

Ben Wong hit­ting his tee shot to start the fi­nal round of match play at Pine­hurst Re­sort & Coun­try Club

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