| Fi­nal Shot

Louie Chan talks to the Hong Kong Men’s Close Am­a­teur Cham­pion about his best ever round, favourite cour­ses and his am­a­teur golf ca­reer.

HK Golfer - - Contents - In­ter­view by Louie Chan

Jonathan Lai, the Hong Kong Men’s Close Am­a­teur Cham­pion, talks about his best ever round, favourite cour­ses and his am­a­teur golf ca­reer.

When did you start play­ing and where?

I was born in HK then moved to Los An­ge­les at around 18 months. I grew up in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and I be­lieve I was 4 when my dad took me to the driv­ing range for the first time. He also had never played be­fore, and I re­mem­ber en­joy­ing prac­tis­ing with him as he learned to golf. My first golf tour­na­ment was a US Kids Golf Qual­i­fy­ing event at age 6, but I didn’t start play­ing ju­nior golf se­ri­ously un­til I was 9, and I’ve been play­ing ever since.

What’s been your best ever round?

I be­lieve the low­est round I’ve shot so far was a 63 (-7) dur­ing the 2015 Ven­tura City Cham­pi­onship in Cal­i­for­nia. But I think my per­sonal “best” ever round was dur­ing an AJGA event at Sy­cuan Golf Re­sort in the sum­mer of 2012. I was four over through my first nine holes, with my swing com­pletely gone, so I de­cided to start half-swing­ing and chip­ping driv­ers 230 yards down the fair­way. I mirac­u­lously man­aged to shoot seven un­der on the back (1 bo­gey, six birdies and an ea­gle) to shoot a 3-un­der 68. That was def­i­nitely the most mem­o­rable round I’ve ever played.

How would you de­scribe your am­a­teur golf ca­reer so far?

I think my am­a­teur ca­reer has been very well balanced, as I’ve achieved many of my per­sonal goals in golf while still main­tain­ing my aca­demics and my work ca­reer. Go­ing to Yale to play for the golf team was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for me to learn both in the class­room and on the golf course. Golf has given me the op­por­tu­nity to travel to many dif­fer­ent places in the world, and ap­par­ently, as a very com­pet­i­tive per­son, it pro­vided me with a plat­form to com­pete against some of the best golfers in the world.

What has been your most mem­o­rable mo­ment on a golf course?

I think the best mo­ment I’ve ever had on a golf course was walk­ing to the 16th tee at Cy­press Point Golf Club dur­ing a Yale Golf Team trip. We were in the mid­dle of a qual­i­fier, and I’m usu­ally very fo­cused on the task at hand, but the view on that hole made me com­pletely for­get about my score. It was a mo­ment where I com­pletely for­got I was com­pet­ing and just en­joyed the golf and the scenery. I ac­tu­ally made a dou­ble bo­gey, and I think only one guy on the en­tire team made a par, but no­body cared be­cause of the sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing that hole.

Do you have a favourite course?

The 16th hole at Cy­press Point Golf Club makes the en­tire course one of my favourite in the world. The only other course I can think of is Kings­barns Golf Links in Scot­land. It was my first time in Scot­land, so it was a new ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing real links cour­ses. On top of that, the views along the Scot­tish coast were breath­tak­ing.

Who would be in your dream four­ball?

I’m a huge NBA bas­ket­ball fan, and even more so of Blake Grif­fin, so I’d def­i­nitely want to play with him. I’d have to take Tiger Woods; he was the best golfer of my gen­er­a­tion. And lastly, this might be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, but I would pick M Shad­ows, lead singer of Avenged Seven­fold, one of my favourite bands. I know he’s su­per into golf, so it’d be cool to play a round with him.

The 16th hole at Cy­press PointGolf Club

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