Chinese Taipei’s golfer Wei-Ling Hsu had tears in her eyes when compatriot C.T. Pan picked up a bronze medal in the men’s golf competition. With her roommate being a silver medallist in badminton, she is now fired up to create her own Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 memories in the women’s golf competition.
The diminutive Hsu began her campaign at a hot and humid Kasumigaseki Country Club on Wednesday with a 2-under 69 for a share of seventh place, three strokes behind early pacesetter Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden who leads following a superb 66.
A bogey on the last hole failed to dampen Hsu’s spirit as to her, being on the Olympic stage for the very first time is just an overwhelming experience. “It’s really different. I’ve been here since last Tuesday and we’ve been walking around the village. I feel like all the athletes, are like huge, and strong and with so much muscle. I’m so different than them. It was a nice experience,” said Hsu, who stands at a mere 1.57m.
A maiden victory on the LPGA Tour in May signalled her arrival on the big stage. She learned to play the game when she was seven, crediting her mother’s influence and with Chinese Taipei producing its best-ever Olympic Games haul so far with two golds, four silvers and five bronze medals, Hsu is looking to contribute to the team’s collection.
Enjoying a front row seat during Pan’s stunning bronze medal effort on Sunday where he prevailed in a seven-man playoff against the likes of Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Collin Morikawa, Hsu hopes she can emulate Pan this week.
“That was amazing what C.T. did. He kept making birdies and in the playoff, I was able to be in there to watch him and recognise that someone from Chinese Taipei was able make a bronze medal in front of me. I watched the ceremony and I was tearing in my eyes. I was so touched. It was just incredible. It’s so touching every time someone wins a medal which is an inspiration to me,” said Hsu.
“I’m rooming with our badminton player who got the silver medal so I’m like, can I check it out? I’m like whoa, this is heavy and so thick. Oh my gosh, it was right in my hands. And I want this to belong to me too. I really want it. If I can be on stage holding the medal, my friends and family will be proud and I’ll definitely be proud of myself too.”
Despite having butterflies in her stomach on the first tee, Hsu got her Olympics debut off to a flying start with five birdies in her opening six holes. She three-putted for bogey on the seventh hole and made three bogeys and one birdie coming home.
“I was a little nervous but I made a long putt on the first and said, okay, the game starts. I think this just feels different than the normal tour tournaments. Overall I hit it pretty good. I was happy I shot under par which is always good but a bit disappointed with how I finished,” she said.
With the mercury rising up to 36 degree Celsius this afternoon, Hsu said the weather conditions will pose another challenge to the athletes in their fight for silverware. “I felt like my heart and head were pumping around, especially after the 13th hole. It started to get really, really hot. I won’t be able to practice immediately after this. We just stayed in the shade and use my umbrella as much as I can. Lots of water too and don’t even think about it. Just try to play golf,” she said.