Leon the professional: Hong Kong young gun D’Souza makes the cut at Hong Kong Open
The 19-year-old becomes only the third Hong Kong player ever to make the cut after shooting an even par in round two at Fanling
It was fan selfies galore for Hong Kong favourite Leon D'Souza, who narrowly made the cut at this year's UBS Hong Kong Open in Fanling.
The amateur and Open debutant becomes Hong Kong’s third-ever golfer to make the cut, previously accomplished by Jason Hak Shun-yat and Tim Tang, after shooting an even par in round two on Friday morning.
This took his overall score to two over, with the cut-off point at three over par.
“I'm pleased with the great finish,” said the 19-year-old. “I didn't make many putts yesterday so it was good to make a couple in the final few holes.”
D'Souza got off to a rocky start and continued to hover below the cut line as he approached the halfway stage. The reigning Hong Kong Open Amateur title holder turned on the power over the back nine, with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes.
“It's a good thing I made par for the last hole, too,” said D'Souza. “I feel relieved now. I can get back out there and see how low I can go.”
Despite knowing the home course inside-out, D'Souza explained there were still elements of unfamiliarity to his first Open experience.
“It's my first time playing on this course in these conditions,” he said. “We do play here all the time but it's completely different now; the firmness of the green and length of the rough.”
And much like his Hong Kong counterparts, he tried to avoid panicking over the cut.
“I didn't really have a goal but I made sure to keep focused and take it shot by shot,” said D'Souza. “Hopefully [my teammates] can make the cut, too.”
D'Souza plans to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas next year but does not rule out a future career in golf if the performances keep coming.
“Let’s see what happens if my golf continues to improve. I could turn pro, but it’s university for now,” he said, adding that he plans to play at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level in the future.
The humble teen goes into the weekend with new-found confidence and has a rough game plan as he shoulders up even closer to Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and company.
“I should let my game flow. It's so easy to get ahead of yourself a try to make things happen – but you can’t. You have to trust your game and trust the process. Then it should work out fine.”