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Hong Kong Ladies Open

Meet the 10-year-old Hong Kong prodigy already beating the Americans who wants to be ‘the world’s best golfer’

Arianna Lau is turning heads with play well beyond her years and is being called ‘something special’ by those in the know

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 7:34pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 2:38pm

In a city that has long put study above all else for students and where sporting prodigies are scarce, 10-year-old Hongkonger Arianna Lau is turning heads on the golf course with play well beyond her years.

After winning the FCG International Junior World Golf Championship as a six-year-old in California in 2014, Lau won her age group again last year and has no doubt where she is headed.

“My dream is to be the world’s best professional golfer, I want to be world number one,” she said. “Also, in the coming two years I want to play in the Hong Kong Ladies Open and amateur tournaments in America.”

Despite her tender age, the precocious talent is already passing on her expertise to fellow youngsters and was on hand on Tuesday as HSBC Insurance and the Hong Kong Golf Association launched an initiative that will see more than 1,000 primary school students receive free training this week.

Lau, who is starting on a full sports scholarship at Malvern College Hong Kong after summer, loves the mental and physical hurdles that golf presents.

“Golf is a challenging sport and it tests how we think. We have to think very carefully when we hit each shot because every time the weather, the flag and the tee box is different,” she said.

Lau hopes to follow Hong Kong’s first LPGA representative, Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching, into the professional sphere as soon as possible and those that know her best says she has a work ethic to match her talent.

“She’s a wonderful kid, a wonderful student of the game. She’s definitely got the fire, she’s got a bright future, not just in golf but in life. She works hard and understands that nothing comes easy,” said Tim Tang Tsz-hang, the Hong Kong Golf Association’s high performance manager.

“She has performed at a really high level and I think she is going to continue to grow. She’s going to go to the US this summer and play in the IMG Junior World Championships, which I think will be a big one for her.

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“If you watch her play you know that she is something special, she’s a prodigy.”

This week’s clinics will give students a taste of “ShortGolf” training, a new first-touch training system that makes it easy to teach golf on school grounds.

“This is for kids that have never been exposed to golf before, we have coaches going to schools to teach them the basics fundamentals of golf – holding the golf club, hitting the ball and team spirit and camaraderie,” Tang said.

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At a time when developing the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling and the Tuen Mun Golf Centre are being touted as answers to the housing crisis, Tang says the sport needs more facilities, not less.

“We don’t want to lose any golf facilities, we want to grow the game so we need more facilities to allow these kids to transition to real golf in the future,” he said.