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Sophomore James Leow represents ASU men's golf and his country

The Singapore native recently joined two ASU teammates at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship


ASU sophomore James Leow watches his shot during the Maui Jim Invitational at the Mirabel Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.

Sophomore golfer James Leow showed his growth as an athlete when he represented his home country of Singapore in international play last week, finishing in the top 10 at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

While the ASU men’s golf team competed in Dallas last month en route to its second tournament win of the season, three of the team’s key players were missing from the lineup.

Leow, junior Won Jun Lee and senior Chun (Kevin) An Yu did not travel to the Trinity Forest Invitational as they prepared to hit the international stage in Shanghai, China.

The three Sun Devils all hail from different countries in Asia and qualified to compete in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, an annual tournament organized by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC). 

Each member of the trio placed in the top 12 in Shanghai, including Leow, who finished with a remarkable score of -8 (280) to tie him for fifth place on the player leaderboard along with Yu.

“I had been talking to my national team coach and (was) feeling confident about my game,” Leow said. “All I needed was to go to China and have a good core strategy … and make the game work.”

Remarkably, Leow missed his initial flight to China, which caused him to be absent from one of the practice rounds. He was only able to attend the final practice round, putting him at a disadvantage to those who had arrived earlier.

“I got all dialed in, went right into it and just told myself to be confident,” Leow said.

He attests to his patience on the green as being an important factor in his performance at the tournament.

Leow finished the first round one under par and proceeded to put his foot on the gas pedal by averaging just under six birdies per round in the final three. He also notched an eagle on the 16th hole of the final round to cap off his impressive performance.

Golf plays an important role in Leow’s life in more ways than one. It has taught him skills that he can use and benefit from in every aspect of living, he said.

“Being a gentleman on and off the course is one big thing about me that has changed a lot growing up,” Leow said. “(Going) from a pretty naughty kid to someone who really upholds values and (is) a gentleman in whatever he does — I think the game has really taught me a lot.”

He also notes his father has a massive influence on him as both a golfer and an individual, thanking his family for making him capable of becoming the talented athlete that he is today.

Leow has turned the heads of coaches and teammates alike with his competitive drive, persistent attitude and mature approach to the game.

He redshirted his first semester with the Sun Devils after a nearly two year stint in the Singapore Civil Defence Force, returning to the game in a comeback fashion rarely experienced by most players his age.

“James is an amazing success story,” said associate head coach Armen Kirakossian. “(He was) a freshman in college in a totally different country … He kept working hard every day — showed up to practice, did his stuff, got great grades, (and) worked really hard.”

Now in his second year playing for ASU, Leow was one of the five members of the lineup who took home first place at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in Scottsdale last month. He is also with the team competing at the Fighting Irish Classic at Notre Dame on Monday.

“(Leow) is a great guy,” teammate Mason Andersen said. “As a person, he’s always looking to help … As far as (golfing) goes, he’s improved so much since his freshman year.”

Leow adds significantly to the dynamic that has propelled the Sun Devils to their No. 1 ranking.

One of ASU's greatest assets is its depth. This is exemplified by the way that Leow and his teammates qualify for prestigious international tournaments such as the Asia-Pacific Amateur.

“I think it’s awesome that the guys have an opportunity to represent their countries and their continent in a tournament like (the Asia-Pacific Amateur),” said Kirakossian. “It really has a big time feel and is just an amazing opportunity.”

Leow, Yu, and Lee are all present in the lineup at the Fighting Irish Classic as the Sun Devils hope to further establish their mark in the NCAA Division I rankings.

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