‘I haven’t decided what signature to use for autographs,’ says Hong Kong hotshot Leon D’Souza after completing an impressive Open debut
The youngster points to his recovery to make the cut on Friday as the highlight of his debut Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong hero Leon D’Souza was taken aback by the epic reception he received from the home crowd after his UBS Hong Kong Open debut drew to a close on Sunday.
“I’m still getting used to this,” said the 19-year-old amateur, who was mobbed by young golf fans after finishing on even par overall. “I haven’t decided what signature to use for autographs and I’m not sure I have enough balls to give out!”
Team Leon fans tracked D’Souza from the very start of the Open’s fourth and final round, which may have explained his rocky start to the day.
“I wasn’t expecting that many people on the first tee and the first few holes,” said D’Souza, who bogeyed the first and fourth. “I had a really bad start ... I just wasn’t feeling it and missed a few short putts.”
A double bogey on the third seemed to kick D’Souza back into gear, however.
“That was a mistake,” he said. “I wasn’t sure whether to use a driver on the tee, but I decided I might as well and pushed it a little bit. I got stuck in the lip of the bunker and chipped it out.”
“I was definitely nervous, I won’t lie, but after dropping a few shots, I just relaxed and played some decent golf afterwards.”
D’Souza went on to make 11 straight pars with a birdie on each side before dropping a shot on the 18th. Not too shabby for his first ever Hong Kong Open.
“Obviously I’d liked to have finished better but nine out of 10 times it was fantastic. To have all these family, friends, fans, and even people I don’t know, has been good fun. Thank you all.”
From making his Open debut on Thursday, to narrowly making the cut on Friday; to shooting an outstanding five under par on Saturday; to receiving a hero’s welcome on Sunday – what was the golf prodigy’s stand-out moment from the tournament?
“Making the cut after being five-over at one point,” said D’Souza without hesitation. “It’s never easy [to do that] so I’m really proud of that and the finish.”
“I should be here next year – if I get a spot,” added the University of Nevada, Las Vegas-bound student. “I have university next year but I will keep working on my game.”