KUCHING: Angel Hii has been doing so well in recent months that 2019 has been nothing short of a major breakthrough for the junior golf star.
Out of the 11 tournaments she has competed in and outside Sarawak since March she has won four and finished second in five.
The 16-year-old Year 11 student of Tunku Putra International School here reached a new milestone in her playing career when she claimed her first World Amateur Golf Ranking points by winning the women’s gross title at the 53rd Penang Amateur Open at Bukit Jawi Golf Club on Sept 19.
Angel shot a four-under par 212 to beat 13 other contenders in her debut in this tournament.
She went on to gain more WAGR points by lifting the women’s crown at the 16th Pahang Amateur Open at the Royal Pahang Golf Club on Oct 6 where she returned a three-day total gross score of one-over par 217.
She currently is No. 2077 on the WAGR (women) with 333 points.
This was followed by the 63rd Perak Amateur Open at the Meru Valley Golf Club in Ipoh on Oct 12 where she carded a 10-over par 226 for a second place finish.
Strangely, this season did not start that well for Angel as she ended up in 10th place at the 11th TSM Challenge Trophy in Kuala Lumpur from Mar 27 to 29.
But a second place finish with a 20-over par 236 in the 50th Sarawak Amateur Open at Kelab Golf Sarawak from Apr 26 to 28 helped her regain some confidence.
However, she was still unable to bring out her best in the 117th Malaysia Amateur Open at KGS from June 20 to 23 as she finished in 12th place with a four-day total of 298 strokes.
The poster girl of the Sarawak Golf Club (KGS) Junior Development Programme proceeded to capture second spot in the Sarawak Classic at KGS from July 13 to 14 after which she partnered Ashley Chin of Penang and Grace Chin of Kuala Lumpur to secure a second place finish for the country at the South East Asian Amateur Team Championship in Hanoi, Vietnam from July 24 to 27.
This event was also participated by Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Angel won the inaugural KGS Junior Golf Open at KGS on Aug 15 and the KGS Club Championship on Sept 29.
She also finished second in the 14th Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open from Aug 27 to 29.
Her next competition is the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup International Junior Golf Championship to be held at KGS from Nov 26 to 28.
This will be followed by three tournaments in December which are the 100 Plus Malaysian Junior Open in Kuala Lumpur and the Sabah International Junior Master in Kota Kinabalu as well as the Faldo Series.
“Overall, I am quite happy with my performance so far this year. I hope to keep the good momentum going and I am looking to do well in the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup in about two weeks’ time.
“My best achievement this year is the win in Penang where I made a major breakthrough by earning my first WAGR points.
“In fact, this is the best golf I have played and I have managed to register better scores with under-par, thanks to my current coach Likit Chaiyakith of Thailand,” said Angel who previously also underwent training stints with South African coach Jean Daniel who is based in Johor, and Duncan Moodie of Australia.
“One of the main reasons why I want to play good golf is that I want to prove my sceptics wrong and that has greatly motivated me to play better and better.”
Under the KGS Junior Development Programme, Angel’s coaches included Chee, Asli and Malkit Singh.
“I hope to be a role model to the beginners and other trainees under the development programme.
“I also want to thank KGS and especially KGS captain Henry Chuo for the strong support that they have given me.
“A big thank you to my parents who have been supporting me through thick and thin,” she added.
Angel started playing golf when she was six years old.
Her ultimate goal is to turn professional after completing her further studies in an US university on a golf scholarship.
“I believe that to be a better player, one must have more training, more training and more training especially to strengthen one’s physical fitness and mental toughness.
“You need to go for more tournaments outside the country where you can not only play against the better players or against the best and learn from them,” she figured.
Before going to the US next August, Angel will try to play in as many international tournaments as possible and go for further training stints with Likit.