Last year’s runner-up, Pan Cheng-tsung of Chinese Taipei, says he has some “unfinished business” to settle as he goes in search of title success at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Twelve months ago, Pan pushed Guan Tianlang all the way at Amata Spring on the outskirts of Bangkok, finishing just a shot behind the Chinese prodigy after firing a brilliant final round of 65. While that second place earned the 21-year-old a spot at International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship – the privilege that goes to both the winner and the runner-up – Pan is looking to go one better at Nanshan International Golf Club in China’s northerly Shandong province, a facility he describes as “extremely impressive.”
“After coming so close last year, I definitely feel like I’ve got some unfinished business, so I’m going to try and take care of that this week,” said Pan, who attends the University of Washington after moving to the United States for his education in 2007. “Everyone comes to this event with the goal of winning, and I’m definitely no different.”
Pan, who at number five in the world is the highest ranked player in the field this week, has had a spectacular season. Aside from excelling for his college team, the “Huskies,” Pan drew widespread acclaim for his performance at the US Open, where he made the cut – and featured on the second-day leaderboard – after making it through the rigours of sectional qualifying.
Playing at Merion has Pan hungry for more major championship experience – and making it to Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters would be the ultimate.
“The US Open was just awesome; it was crazy how many people knew my name and were supporting me,” said Pan, who finished in a tie for 45th at the season’s second major. “[But] my dream is to play in and win the Masters. That really would be a dream come true. I was close last time here [at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship], so I’m going to be trying my best to go one better this time around.”