Carl Yuan believes China is on the right track to eventually win a medal in men’s golf after he concluded his Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 debut with life-long memories and renewed motivation with an eye for Paris 2024.
Yuan, the Chinese No. 1, finished in a tie for 38th place after closing with an even par 71 at Kasumigaseki Country Club on Sunday, with compatriot Ashun Wu settling for equal 32nd position after signing his week’s best with a 66.
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American Xander Schauffele won the gold medal with a winning score of 18-under 266, with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini finishing one back for the silver and Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan grabbing the bronze after prevailing in a thrilling seven-way playoff.
“It was an awesome week. It’s such a great honour to be here representing China. Didn’t play my best obviously but I kept my head down and grinded hard. I didn’t hit many fairways until the last few holes to make some birdies coming in. It’s such a great experience to play with the best players and hope I can become an Olympian again,” said Yuan.
A Korn Ferry Tour regular, the 24-year-old knows his game needs to undergo a process for him to get onto the next stage where he also has his eyes on the PGA Tour. In the current KFT season, he has posted three runner-up finishes.
“I think we have a really good chance in the next Olympics in Paris. I think our golfers are starting to improve gradually by playing in better competitions. It takes some time for us to get to the highest stage but definitely we are heading in the right direction. Every day, we’re one step closer,” said the University of Washington alumni.
“I think I need to adapt to the golf course a bit better moving forward. I didn’t quite get a hang of it in the first two rounds. Also, I didn’t play in any events in the five weeks coming into this week and maybe I could have done better preparation. I just have to keep working hard.”
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Being amongst other Olympians at the Games Village provided Yuan with an experience of a lifetime and also the inspiration to aspire for more success at the highest level of the sport. “It’s amazing to be with so many great athletes. You walk in the village and you see so many walking around with the medal around their necks. It’s so cool to see that in person. And when you talk to them, they are super nice even when they’ve just won a gold medal. It’s great to interact with athletes like that and it motivates me to be one of them,” said Yuan.
The 36-year-old Wu, a three-time winner on the European Tour, was delighted to conclude the week with his best score even though he was well out of the running for a podium finish. “I struggled for the first two days but got some feeling back later. As this was my second time playing in the Olympics, I tried hard and I hope I have the opportunity to play for third time in three years. The Olympics is different than other professional tournaments, which happens every week. The Olympics takes place once every four years and only two people can represent their country. I cherish this opportunity and will try to qualify for the next Olympics,” said Wu.
Text: IGF/PGA Tour