| Cover Story
Exclusive interview with Motin Yeung, new ambassador of the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club.
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?
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?
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’?
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)?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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