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UBS Hong Kong Open 2016

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Hong Kong’s top amateur golfer Terrence Ng knows he has to toughen up physically and mentally as he aims to join pro ranks

The 22-year-old is hoping to make the cut at this year’s Hong Kong Open to boost his confidence as he aims to prove he can cut it at the highest level

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 November, 2016, 1:07pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2016, 2:49pm

Hong Kong’s leading amateur golfer Terrence Ng is hoping a decent performance in the UBS Hong Kong Open next month can help propel him to the pro ranks – but he admits he has to hone body and mind before thinking of making the grade.

Ng, 22, is in the final year of a sports management degree at Griffith University in Australia’s Gold Coast. He plans to hit the amateur circuit for a year after graduation before trying the Asian or Australian Tours’ qualification schools.

And making the cut at Hong Kong Golf Club could be the perfect confidence boost after an eye-opening debut last year.

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“Last year I didn’t play really too good [missing the cut with 78-75], I was struggling at the beginning and feeling a bit nervous since it was my first time playing in a European Tour event, that was the main factor.

“[But] it was definitely a good experience for me. It helped my game a lot. I became more confident after that and I saw the players I played with [Asian Tour pro] Anthony Kang and [European Tour pro] Victor Riu were really next level compared to my game so I learned a lot about what I need to improve.”

Ng won his place with victory at the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship, and repeated the feat when he retained the title this year.

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He knows he has to bulk up physically and, perhaps even more importantly, strengthen his mental game if he’s going to make the pro ranks.

The Hong Kong team have recently employed a mind coach, and Ng said the benefits have been immediate.

“My mental game is getting a lot better compared to before, I can see the results and getting more consistent,” said the Tuen Mun native, who was speaking at an event to promote UBS’ HK18 event, a public putting competition that is touring the city with HK$180,000 going to the winner.

“He doesn’t really focus on the numbers or the result of what you shoot, he focuses on what we need to do on the course. For example he will ask us to make some tasks for each day, for each tournament, and on course just focus on that task.

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“It might be to ‘play more aggressive’ – if that’s my task for that round I just stick to my task rather than think about the scores and everything, and it helps.

“It’s pretty new to us and it’s important for golf especially, you’re on course for four or five hours per round and if you don’t have a strong mental game it’s easy to get lost.”

Ng admits he needs to work on his fitness too after being somewhat embarrassed to be outdriven by the pros at Fanling last year.

“I think most likely I will turn pro after I finish my degree but not straight away, I’m thinking of playing full year golf as an amateur to see how it goes,” he said.

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“It’s going to be tough to support myself, if you go Q-school it’s pretty expensive, entry is like US$1,000 dollars, plus there’s flights and accommodation.

“But the main factor is I feel I’m still not ready for pro golf yet.

“Technique-wise I think I just need to keep doing what I’m doing with my coach, but I need to put more time in the gym get stronger. Last year at the Hong Kong Open I was like 20 or 30 yards shorter than the other guys so it makes it harder.

“This year I think I’ll play better compared to last year, I feel pretty good and have been playing alright recently – I’m pretty confident, I just need to stay focused and stay patient and hopefully make the cut.”