For the record, China’s Yujie Liu is the youngest participant in this year’s Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship. She is just 12.
However, it’s not just her age that will shock you. There’s more.
Ask her who is her favourite golfer, and the answer will surprise you even more.
“Oh! I have so many. On the LPGA, it is Nelly Korda and Lydia Ko. Among the men, it is Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy (no surprises so far, but hold your breath…) and Ben Hogan.”
Hogan? As in the nine-time major champion from the World War II era? Seriously?
“Yes… the Ben Hogan. I admire him a lot,” explains the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) number 305. “My father told me his story about how he was involved in a big car crash and almost died. And then, when nobody thought he could make a comeback, how he came back a couple of years later to win the US Open while playing on one leg basically. It is so inspirational.
“What I like about him is how strong he was mentally. That’s important for any athlete to succeed.”
Winner of three junior tournaments last year, a determined Liu has made the best possible start in her journey towards becoming a professional golfer in the future.
However, just the fact that Liu is pursuing golf is equally surprising as well. After all, her father, Guoliang, is an Olympics gold medalist (won both singles and doubles golds in 1996 Atlanta Games) and a World Championship winner and former head coach of the Chinese national table tennis team, while Mom, Jenny, was an international ping pong superstar as well.
Guoliang may not have taught Liu how to play table tennis, but he sure is teaching her how to win.