Wang brothers have serious skills on the golf course
August 11, 2013
By Neil Pierson
New: Aug. 11, 12:16 p.m.
Anyone who has followed the Eastlake High School golf program over the past four years is plenty familiar with Li Wang, a three-time Class 4A state runner-up who will play for Yale University this fall.
What might be less familiar to Eastlake fans is the fact that Li’s younger brother, Victor, is a rising star in his own right.
Victor recently won two Washington Junior Golf Association tournaments, and has his sights set on many of the same goals Li has already accomplished.
Victor captured a WJGA district title July 23 at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle. In two nine-hole rounds, he shot 34 and 39 to win by three strokes.
He followed that up with a 36-hole victory at the WJGA state championship, held July 31 to Aug. 2 at Meadow Park Golf Course in Tacoma and The Home Course in neighboring DuPont.
At the latter tourney, Victor outmatched 29 other boys in the 8-11 age division. He shot 34 and 39 in a pair of nine-hole rounds, and followed it up with a 79 over 18 holes to beat Spokane’s Nate Plaster by five strokes.
Victor said the two events tested his skills. Broadmoor’s greens challenged him even though he believes his putting is the strongest part of his game.
“The greens were fast, pretty firm, and it was pretty long considering my age,” he said. “I had to reach a lot of the par fours with woods … and it was plenty tough.”
It was a performance Li Wang had to be pleased with. Li was a four-time WJGA state champion, and his outstanding prep career at Eastlake earned him multiple scholarship offers from Pacific-12 Conference universities.
“But in the end, my family has always put education first, and I looked into Harvard and Yale for the education side of it,” Li said.
The Yale campus impressed Li, he said, and the “down to earth” nature of Bulldogs coach Colin Sheehan sold him on his destination.
“It’s just a fun fact, but Yale actually has the most (golf) national championships out of any school,” Li said. “Golf is a part of their tradition.”
Li has been transitioning between junior and amateur golf events, which has resulted in a relatively light summer schedule.
However, he made good on one of his few competitions, winning the Seattle Amateur Championship on July 3. He shot 5-under par over three rounds.
The victory helped him get back on track after the disappointment he felt from his final high-school tournament. Although Eastlake won the team championship, Li couldn’t sustain his hot start and finished second in the individual standings for the third straight season.
“I was tied for the lead after the first round, but I felt like I should’ve had a five-shot lead,” he said. “And then the second round, I didn’t play well there, so I felt like I had the tournament and I threw it away this year.”
Another consolation for Li is the influence he’s had on Victor. They’re both members at Sahalee Country Club, and play together often. Victor, who will enter sixth grade this year at Redmond Middle School, thinks he’s inherited Li’s competitiveness and sweet swing.
“When I was little, he would play tournaments, and I would follow along,” Victor said. “He was the reason why I got hooked on golf.”
“It’s a long journey … he’s still got six, seven more years,” Li said of Victor’s budding golf career. “I mean, there’s going to be some tough times, so I just hope he sticks with it and just keeps working hard.”