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
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