- Johnny Esfeller
IMG Academy alumnus Cheng-Tsung Pan excited about opportunity at US Open
IMG Academy golf program alumnus Cheng-Tsung Pan is only two years removed from high school, but has enjoyed a stellar sophomore campaign with the University of Washington that began as the No. 1 NCAA men’s player in the country, and recently resulted in qualifying for the 113th U.S. Open Championship, which began today at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Pan qualified last week with a one-under 139 at the 36-hole US Open Qualifying Sectional held at Tumble Creek in Cle Elum, Wash. on June 7.
“It feels awesome, and I still can’t believe I qualified for [the U.S. Open],” said Pan.
“A couple of years ago, I could not have imagined being there, and now I’m there.”
Although Pan was not able to savor his triumph until several hours after he finished his last round.
“I was nervous when I finished because there was a guy one shot behind me, and he was in the last group, so I had to wait on him and I was nervously checking the scoreboard constantly.”
As a student-athlete at IMG Academy, Pan arrived from Taiwan with very little golf training and unable to speak English. Within three years, Pan had gained fluency in English through IMG Academy’s ESL program, and rose as high as fourth overall in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com world rankings through intensive training with David Whelan, IMG Academy’s Director of Golf.
“The golf program at IMG Academy is great, and by far the best program in the world for players under 18-years old,” Pan remarked of his IMG Academy experience.
“The coaching is the most helpful part, because they are really experienced, like David Whelan, who was also a really good player, and they taught me how to fix my weaknesses, how to score and how to have a stronger mentality on the course.”
Pan’s training is paying dividends, because he is already fourth all-time in Washington history for victories with three, and has notched 14 top-10 finishes, good for fifth in school history. Pan got started in the U.S. Open this morning, paired with Mackenzie Hughes and Geoffrey Sisk.
Photo by: University of Washington Athletics