| Cover Story

Ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Motin Ye­ung, new am­bas­sador of the Clear­wa­ter Bay Golf and Coun­try Club.

HK Golfer - - Contents - In­ter­view By Ni­co­las Kunz

Nick­o­las Kunz talks to the first Hong Kong win­ner on the PGA TOUR Se­ries-China about how he cel­e­brated his first pro­fes­sional vic­tory, his con­fi­dence on earn­ing a Web.com Tour card and his new Am­bas­sador role for the Clear­wa­ter Bay Golf and Coun­try Club.

Ni­co­las Kunz: How did you cel­e­brate your first PGA TOUR SeriesChina win at the Kun­ming Cham­pi­onship in June?

Motin Ye­ung:

Right af­ter the tour­na­ment, I had din­ner with a bunch of the guys like Char­lie Saxon, Trevor Sluman and some of the Tour staff. We just had a big din­ner, and then we went out to have some fun.

NK: How spe­cial was get­ting that first win as a pro? MY:

It was re­ally spe­cial for me for a cou­ple of rea­sons. One was that I got full sta­tus on the Tour, so I don’t have to worry about Mon­day qual­i­fiers again. Two, I haven’t won a real tour­na­ment since 2010, so it had been a long time – eight years. I al­most for­got what it felt like to win, so it was re­ally ex­cit­ing. Another thing is that I’m ex­cited to win on the Tour be­cause it put me in the sec­ond spot on the money list (as of June 18), so I have a much bet­ter chance of get­ting Web. com Tour sta­tus for next year.

NK: Con­sid­er­ing be­fore the win, you didn’t have any sta­tus on the PGA Tour Se­ries-China, how did it feel for your ca­reer to change overnight?

MY:

It felt great. I mean, now I don’t have to worry about play­ing Mon­day qual­i­fiers or fin­ish­ing top 20 any­more. I can just go out there, play and not worry about next week and how I’m go­ing to get into next week. That’s a big re­lief. Also, it’s a big con­fi­dence booster that I know I can win, I can win in a play­off, I can win in a play­off against two play­ers. It’s re­ally a big con­fi­dence booster.

NK: Are you con­fi­dent about earn­ing a Web.com Tour card for 2019? MY:

I think so. I’ve been feel­ing good, and I’ve been work­ing hard, so hope­fully, I will keep those good re­sults com­ing.

NK: When you had no sta­tus, did you think you’d now be in the run­ning for the Web.com Tour – the ‘Path to the PGA TOUR’?

MY:

I’ve been feel­ing good this whole year. When I had my first in­ter­view in Chongqing, I was like, ‘My game is feel­ing good, I’m just wait­ing’. I’m wait­ing for the good re­sults to come, so I’m con­fi­dent some more good re­sults will come.

NK: What would a top-five fin­ish on the Tour mean to you? MY:

It means Web.com Tour sta­tus. I’m ready to move up the lad­der!

NK: Are you ex­cited that this year’s Tour will fin­ish in Hong Kong with the Clear­wa­ter Bay Open (Oc­to­ber 11-14)?

MY:

Yeah, I’m su­per ex­cited about that. I like the course a lot. It’s a beau­ti­ful place, a spe­cial place. I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing there. NK: The Clear­wa­ter Bay Golf and Coun­try Club would be an ex­cit­ing place to lock up a Web. com Tour card.

MY: For sure. Hope­fully!

NK: You re­cently signed to be an am­bas­sador for Clear­wa­ter Bay, join­ing Ja­son Hak. How did that arise?

MY:

David Hui (Com­mit­tee Chair­man) sent me an email af­ter I won, and we started from there. We talked on the phone, and I ended up go­ing to Hong Kong. I signed on Mon­day, July 2.

NK: Are you ex­cited about the new role? MY:

I’m su­per ex­cited about it. Hav­ing a world-class golf course sup­port­ing me is some­thing I didn’t even think about. Right af­ter I read the email, I was like, ‘Wow’. I just got so pumped, and I’m ex­cited to work with them in the fu­ture and play many rounds of golf there.

NK: Will be­ing an am­bas­sador add pres­sure to com­pet­ing at Clear­wa­ter Bay in Oc­to­ber?

MY:

I think it’s good pres­sure. I want to do bet­ter there. I want to play well and rep­re­sent the club well.

NK: How well do you know the club and what do you like most about it?

MY:

I’ve played two tour­na­ments there. I think it’s a re­ally spe­cial place there, beau­ti­ful views – beau­ti­ful, stun­ning views! That’s the most unique thing about it. Also, a good lay­out. I re­ally like the lay­out, con­di­tions are al­ways per­fect, so there’s not much more you can ask from a golf course.

NK: When did you start play­ing golf? MY:

I started play­ing in 2003 when I was nine years old. At that time, bird flu af­fected Beijing pretty badly, and I was out of school for a pretty long time, maybe from around April all the way through sum­mer, so our whole fam­ily went to Hainan where there was no bird flu. My dad played golf, and he brought me to the course since I had nothing to do. It was a good time for me to learn it and that’s how I picked it up.

Even when I was 13, 14, I still wasn’t too at­tracted to golf. It was more of my par­ents say­ing, ‘Oh, just go play this sport, it’s good for you’. They wanted me to use it to get a schol­ar­ship to go to col­lege. When I was about 15, I started play­ing a lot of AJGA tour­na­ments, started get­ting into the big tour­na­ments, the in­vi­ta­tion­als, and I re­ally liked the tour­ing life. I got a taste of the tour­ing life, and I re­ally en­joyed it. I en­joyed the com­pe­ti­tion, the trav­el­ling, ev­ery­thing.

NK: What’s your best-ever round? MY:

I shot 61 one time back in my high-school days. It was a 61, but it wasn’t a par-72 course. It was a par-70 or 71, and the tour­na­ment was called Florida Aza­lea.

NK: What has been the role of the HKGA in the de­vel­op­ment of your golf ca­reer? MY:

I rep­re­sented Hong Kong mul­ti­ple times. I played the Na­tional Games in 2013 and in 2017, Asian Games in 2014, Asia-Pa­cific Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship in 2015 and World Am­a­teur in 2012. Those are the times I rep­re­sented Hong Kong. They were all great ex­pe­ri­ences, and I had a lot of fun trav­el­ling with my team­mates. At the time, Brad Schade­witz was the coach, and I had mul­ti­ple cap­tains – Rob Keys and a cou­ple other good guys. I had a great time.

NK: Hav­ing grown from an elite ju­nior to a Hong Kong rep­re­sen­ta­tive to a tour­ing pro who has won his first ti­tle, do you have any ad­vice for Hong Kong’s ju­nior and am­a­teurs?

MY:

I would say work hard, be­lieve in your­self and never give up. You’ll make it one day – you have to be­lieve it.

NK: Do you have a favourite course around the world? MY:

Maybe Sage Val­ley. It’s a su­per nice course in South Carolina, right next to Au­gusta Na­tional. Ba­si­cally, the owner built it be­cause he couldn’t get into Au­gusta, so he built his own ver­sion – it’s su­per nice! We played a tour­na­ment there, and it was def­i­nitely the best tour­na­ment in ju­nior or am­a­teur golf. Like, the best! The course is su­per pure. We played in April around the time of the Masters, and the course was in re­ally ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. It’s a good track, good food, ev­ery­thing about it was good. Good gifts also!

NK: Who would be in your dream four­ball? MY:

Hold on, I need some time to think. I need to think of some­body who is in­spir­ing. Who is in­spir­ing? Elon Musk, def­i­nitely. I think he is su­per cool, so I’d choose him. I’m not go­ing to say Tiger Woods or Jor­dan Spi­eth … I’ll play against them. Leonardo Di­Caprio be­cause I like his movies and I think he’s a great ac­tor. It would be cool to hang with him and see him in per­son and play golf with him. Also Lebron James.

Motin Ye­ung has rep­re­sented Hong Kong mul­ti­ple times in var­i­ous in­ter­na­tionaltour­na­ments

Motin Ye­ung has re­cently signed as an am­bas­sador for the Clear­wa­ter Bay Golf and Coun­try Club

Motin Ye­ung kisses his girl­friend dur­ing the prize pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony at the Kun­ming Cham­pi­onship

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