TODAY |

'I'm following in some big footsteps' - meet Kiwi golf's rising star

Next week's Muriwai Open marks just the second golf tournament in New Zealand where both males and females can compete in the same field, for the same prize money.

Among the competitors is one of New Zealand's fastest rising stars, 16-year-old Darae Ching.

After picking up a club for the first time in 2014, Chung has quickly become one to watch in New Zealand golf circles. Her took her from the Shandon Golf Club in the Hutt Valley all around the world.

For the last two years, Chung has been selected by Annika Sorenstam, arguably the best female golfer to have played the game, to represent her at a prestigious tournament run by former Major winner, Nick Faldo.

Sorenstam's team took out that competition, Chung playing her part.

"We were the only all-girls team in the field, and it happened to be International Women's Day on the day we won," Chung told 1 NEWS.

Winning is a feeling that Chung's getting used to. In 2019, she was the leading female amateur in New Zealand, and the reigning under-19 champion.

"I feel like I'm still chasing somebody.

"I don't feel like I'm at the top of the top yet, so that feeling of trying to look up to someone better than me hasn't changed."

Chung doesn't need to look too far for inspiration either, two-time Major winner and fellow Kiwi Lydia Ko having paved the way for the next generation.

"She's also a Korean-Kiwi, and I'm Korean-Kiwi, and I think I'm following in some big footsteps.

"But I'm really glad to follow hers, because she's such an inspiration."

Despite the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact on global sport as a whole, Chung isn't shying away from her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.

"Even though right now we can't tell what's going to happen next, [I] just work on every day as if something is going to happen."

And at the rate her game is growing, it's surely a matter of when and not if Chung's big break will come.