Two years ago, Qi Zhi âChi Chiâ Wong left his native Singapore, to attend IMG Academy with the goal of merging his strong academic and golf skills to become a student-athlete at a top college in the United States.
At his first tournament in September 2010, he shot a 97-81 at IMG's golf course in a Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event. In less than two years, he has greatly improved and most recently shot a 73-76 on the same course during a Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event in April 2012.
âI believe what made me play so well was my hard work and the instruction from my coaches at IMG,â Wong said.
The coaches that have worked closely with Wong are IMG Academy golf coach, Kevin Collins, and mental conditioning coach, Christian Smith.
âI think the three of us form a very good team and manage to bring the scores down,â he said.
Wong also credits his time management skills, improved physical fitness and better nutrition habits that he learned at IMG Academy to helping him become the total athlete.
For Wong, becoming the total athlete also means excelling not only on the golf course, but also in the classroom. On Friday, June 1, 2012, he will graduate from Saint Stephens with a 4.3 GPA and a 1950 SAT score.
Before Wong begins college, however, he must first serve his home country.
âIt is mandatory for all males who are 18 to serve two years in the Singaporean Military before they can advance their studies,â he said.
Upon completing his time in the military, Wong will return to the United States to attend college in 2014.
While still trying to decide on a university, he knows that he would like to major in business. He is already talking to collegiate golf coaches and has made visits to prospective schools including NYU and Columbia.
âI definitely want to play golf in college and am looking forward to keeping in touch with the coaches and seeing how my golf grows,â he said.
Looking back on his time at IMG Academy, Wong noted, âI'm most proud of the friendships I've forged at IMG with so many people from so many countries - from all over Asia, America and Europe. Outside of IMG, I don't think it's really possible to meet so many people from so many backgrounds who all share the same goal.â
Wong's advice to junior golfers interested in attending IMG Academy is: âYou can only be as good as you want to be. IMG can be a place where you can become a champion, or it can just be a place where you spend two or three years. It's more about the work you put into it, and IMG has a system that revolves around what you want to put into your sport and supports you.â
âWhen I look back where I came from and how I got to this point, I feel proud,â Wong reflected. âWhen I play a tournament now, or are on the tee, I feel confident.â