11 October 2019
Pursuing the Highest Goal
In two months, Patricia Sinolungan won two consecutive titles. This kind of success is not something that happens often and it’s also not something that happens suddenly. Her achievements are the results of an ongoing process that Patty - as she is usually called – is going through. The 17-year-old teenager is forging her future at North Texas University in the United States. The young student-athlete credits the experience of playing golf and studying abroad for helping her to see things broadly. Patricia chatted to us at OB Golf about her past and present life along with her future goals.
When did you start playing golf?
When I was seven years old, I learned golf from my papa and my brother. After school or during the holidays, my father asked me to go to the driving range. Since that time, I tried to play golf.
Was there any other sport you played?
I played football in my school’s extracurricular program. Before there was a girls team, I joined in with the boy’s team.
What do you remember about your first golf tournament?
I played at the PGN Ancora Junior Golf Championship in 2009. Despite scoring 101, I won second place. I had only played golf for one year.
It seems that you always liked to compete, is that true?
I liked to compete when playing football or practicing golf with my brother. My competitive instinct formed since childhood. However, I don’t have to compete in all activities. Sometimes, I do it just for fun. For me, [competition] is more than just self-motivation so that I can look good.
You did homeschooling before going to university. Why did you choose to homeschool?
I chose to homeschool so I had more time to practice golf. The study schedule can be flexible. The golf match always takes place during school hours. When I was in elementary school, I often asked for permission to take part in tournaments and was usually allowed. Some teachers allow it, some don't. I would often meet the principal to ask for permission. He once said, "What do you get from golf?" Then, I was informed that in middle and high school I might not get much permission to compete in golf. So, that’s why I decided to do homeschooling.
Which year has meant the most to you so far?
I think it was last year. So many events happened in that year. I attended team selection for the Asian Games and joined national training camps. I took my final exams in high school and I moved to college in the USA. Despite failing to join the national team, I was lucky to be able to participate in national training. I learned a lot from my fellow national players at training camp and our coaches. I got good coaching from them.
Have you had any tense experiences while playing golf?
I once got a yellow card because it was considered slow-play at Ana Junior Inspiration last year. We actually had already played fast but on one hole, our balls, mine and my playing partners, got into the water. That made our game slow. After playing the hole, our group got a yellow card and we were told we must arrive at the time checker at the next station in accordance with the specified time. Therefore, we had to run around in order to finish the game quickly.
Why did you choose the USA as your place to study?
I wanted to go to college in the US because I want my golf to continue to grow but my education not to be interrupted. In the US, the competition allows me to meet golfers who are better and more experienced than me. This can help my mentality and play.
What major are you taking and why?
My major is General Business. In addition to this major, I also like science. However, I chose a major that doesn't burden my golf activity. I can do these two in balance.
Could you tell us about your golf activities at college?
Saturday or Sunday my coach gives me a week-long schedule of activities. Every week the schedule is roughly the same, it's just a reminder. Last spring, I had a class schedule that was three-days of morning study and two-days afternoon. The routine, with the morning class schedule, I take my class in the morning and then go to practice in the afternoon. For the afternoon class, I do a workout in the gym in the morning and practice on the course. Saturday I have no classes and Sunday is my day off.
How long did it take you to adjust to the schedule?
I think I am settled with the schedule now. I think I adapted to a busy schedule after one month.
What exactly is your daily routine?
I do activities - study and golf practice - all day and can only rest in the evening. At night, I do homework and prepare everything for tomorrow. Everything for tomorrow must be prepared the day before. If not, I will be stuck in the morning. Monday to Friday the schedule is more or less like that. I can only relax on Saturday and Sunday.
How do you get into the college team?
We qualify over three rounds. The coach ranks our score. Ranks one to four join the team to play in the team competition. Meanwhile, the fifth player is the coach's pick.
Did you manage to make the team?
Yes, I did!
Does the team play for the whole year of competition?
In every tournament, we are evaluated. If we do not perform well, the coach will replace us. So, in every tournament, our team might not be the same player.
When do your tournaments take place?
The season runs from August to October, then continues again from February to April.
What has been the biggest impact on you from your busy golf activities there?
I think my mentality is improving. My competitive instincts are even more honed. I am more independent, especially in motivating myself.
What are your hopes for your future in golf?
I have a big plan for my golf. I don’t want my golf talent and skill to be wasted. I have to use it to reach the highest goal possible. Therefore, I will take advantage of the opportunity to play as much as possible while here. Maybe I will win major someday, that’s my highest goal. I hope I can make it!