Rising star Wang on course for a stellar career

13-year-old Chinese girl Wang Ziyi competes at the Fangshan-Changyang China Amateur Golf Championship over the weekend in Beijing.

BEIJING - A strong rival pushes you hard and makes you strong. For 13-year-old Chinese girl Wang Ziyi, that opponent is the girl in the mirror.

"On the course, my biggest rival is myself. I just try to play my usual game," Wang said.

"I never set my eyes on the rankings or compete with other players. It means a lot more for me to just make the ideal strokes."

Wang finished runner-up at the Fangshan-Changyang China Amateur Golf Championship on Sunday afternoon. She finished with a three-day total of 216, one behind the women's champion, Ma Andrea Victoria of the Philippines.

From day one, the pair distanced themselves from the rest of the field and staged a white-hot battle right until the final sun-splashed but windy day at the California County Golf Club. Wang nailed five birdies, one more than Victoria, but had a double-bogey at the par-4 14th hole and three bogeys.

It was the second time Wang had battled the Philippine girl, who is three years her senior. Last time it was Wang who laughed last - at January's HSBC junior tournament.

Her mental toughness has seen her move up to higher-level tournaments. This year she took the leap into the intense world of professional golf and has stood strong.

"A minor error will cost a lot. The biggest difference is not in the skills, but the mind-set," said Wang when asked about the difference between professional tournaments and amateur competitions.

Wang took to the sport in May 2004 and won her first title in the qualifying event of the US Kids Golf World Championship two years later.

Wang won the Beijing stop of the CITIC Bank China Amateur Golf Tour in 2009, becoming the youngest female champion in the history of the tour. She lifted the silverware on the same course she played last weekend.

Wang will continue to go forth against the girl in the mirror.

(China Daily)