Golfers hunt their first SEA Games medal in Cambodia

April 25, 2023 - 10:50
The national team's send-off and sponsorship signing ceremony was held on April 23 in Hà Nội.


The national golf team is expected to win the first SEA Games medal from the Cambodian regional sport meet next month. — Photo of VGA

HÀ NỘI — A team of seven young golfers from Việt Nam are expected to win medals for the first time at the 32nd SEA Games next month in Cambodia.

The national team's send-off and sponsorship signing ceremony was held on April 23 in Hà Nội.

Nguyễn Anh Minh, Đoàn Uy, Nguyễn Đặng Minh and Lê Khánh Hưng will compete on the men's side while Lê Chúc An, Thân Bảo Nghi and Đoàn Xuân Khuê Minh are in the women's.

They are the best competitors who passed a selection competition last month to be picked to represent Việt Nam in Cambodia.

At 16, Anh Minh was famed as a talented player with several international achievements.

He has just become the first Vietnamese to win the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Golf Championship title. The tournament concluded at the Laguna Lăng Cô Golf Course in Thừa Thiên Huế Province on April 21.

Earlier, he won the national championship and the Lexus Challenge in 2022.

Hưng, 15, is also championing several major tournaments, including the prestigious Lexus Challenge 2023 and the Việt Nam Match Play Championship last year when he was 14.

The 16-year-old Uy and 18-year-old Đặng Minh have made remarkable successes at the national junior tournaments. Uy is the top golfer of the Việt Nam Golf Association Junior Tour, while Đặng Minh was the national champion in 2020.

Talented player Lê Chúc An is one of three Vietnamese female athletes at the 32nd SEA Games. — Photo

Among the female competitors, An, 15, is the winner of the 2022 Việt Nam Match Play Championship; Nghi, 15, is developing well among juniors; Khuê Minh is the oldest athlete in the team. At 20, she is the reigning national champion and is studying and training in the US.

"There is a big gap between Việt Nam and regional golf powerhouses like Thailand and the Philippines," said coach Nguyễn Thái Dương. "We have to work really hard to narrow it."

"The national players are young and have been training methodically for years. They have participated in many tournaments, leading to improved technique and achievement. These are good signs for Việt Nam golf, and we can expect that they will soon make their mark in the region."

Dương said that compared to the last Games, his players had more experience and better skills.

"Anh Minh and Khánh Hưng are two key players," said Dương. "They had good performances all year round in local and international events. Our target will be a top-three finish."

All 10 ASEAN teams have registered to play golf in the 32nd SEA Games.

They will vie for four sets of medals for men's and women's 48-hole individual and 18-hole team events.

Title favourites will be world amateur No 29 Ratchanon Chantananuwat of Thailand and Games 31 silver medallist Amadeus Susanto Christian of Indonesia in the men's category. Meanwhile, they are Asia-Pacific Women’s Amateur winner Eila Galitsky and Terre Blance Ladies Open champion Louise Uma Landgraf, both of Thailand.

Golf matches will be held from May 8-13 at the Garden City Golf Club in Phnom Penh.

At the last Games, Anh Minh placed sixth in the ranking, the best result among Vietnamese golfers in SEA Games. His score also helped Việt Nam to finish fourth in the team rankings, the best in history.

Also, on April 23, the national team received support from companies and enterprises such as the Hà Nội Beer Alcohol Beverage Joint Stock Corporation, VGS Invest, Amber Hills Golf & Resort, Noressy Luxury Golf, Els Performance Golf Academy, and two individuals.

In addition to a purse of VNĐ100 million (US$4,300) in cash for the team, VGS Invest also promised another VNĐ100 million if they earn a medal and VNĐ200 million for any medallist. — VNS