Pan found her own way to swing

Updated: 2011-11-02 08:01

By Wu Ying (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

A late bloomer in golf, Pan Yanhong still discovered how to become one of China's top players after an early career in weightlifting, Wu Ying reports.

Rising star Pan Yanhong does not have the traditional pedigree of a top Chinese golfer. Instead, she has taken an unconventional path, but one that has still lead to success.

Though the 28-year-old only turned pro last March, she is showing the potential to become the country's golf spokeswoman in the world arena some day soon.

Pan bagged her first China LPGA Tour championship in September in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, leading all the way. She also finished third in the Sanya Ladies Open, a stop on the LET (Ladies European Tour), which concluded on Oct 23. She will try to qualify for next year's Japan Golf Tour this month.

"The Sanya Open is just one competition. I only saw it as a tune-up for the coming Japan LPGA qualifying tournament, so I didn't expect to play that well," Pan told China Daily during a telephone interview.

Pan has been training hard for the qualifying tournament.

Pan found her own way to swing

"Eight to five every day," she said. "Of course I want to lift the Japan Tour championship trophy one day like her," Pan said referring to compatriot Feng Shanshan, who in August became the first Chinese mainlander to win a Japan LPGA Tour title.

Another famous name also came up - world No 1 Tseng Yani of Chinese Taipei. Pan has only played once with Tseng, her idol.

"You should make great efforts to succeed. I have to learn from Tseng. The efforts I'm making now may not achieve good results immediately, but I believe I'll be better if I keep working hard for a long time.

"My dream now is to gain more world points so that I can compete in the (Rio de Janeiro) Olympics (in 2016)," she said.

It seems golf has long coursed through her veins, but Pan, in fact, spent many years lifting weights before picking up the clubs. She said she was lost for a while when she graduated from a sports academy in Zhuhai where she had been lifting weights for 10 years.

"My family is not wealthy. It was when I found a job in a golf club that I began to know and became interested in the sport. Nobody taught me at first, so I tried to learn the ropes all by myself. Sometimes my coworkers played with me, and later I met my Shifu (master) and began playing golf seriously."

Pan attributes her golfing success to all the people who have helped her along the way. Her master, Wu Kangchun, is one of them. Pan was invited by Wu, one of China's best male pro players, to join the Guangdong Golf Channel team in 2007. Pan now lives in Wu's house and trains with him in Zhuhai, Guangdong.

"I'm lucky that so many people have lent me a hand so many people," said Pan.

"Weightlifting has also had a residual effect in her progress.

"My energy is easily centered on one point when I drive, and golf requires coordination of the whole body, which weightlifters also need."

However, the low-key golfer said other women can still out-drive her.

When asked about other interests during her leisure time, Pan said, "My only interest is golf now."