Fan represents Golf at CIFs

Amy Wang, Editor-in-Chief

Leanne Fan (9) prepares to tee off at Vista Country Club at the Division I CIF golf championships, Oct. 31. Although this was Fan’s first year competing in CIFs, she advanced to the second round. Photo courtesy of Leanne Fan.

Leanne Fan (9) squinted in concentration at the 18-hole course at Vista Country Club, Oct. 31. 

For the past few weeks she’d been whizzing across the country, from Minnesota, where she won the 3M Young Scientist competition, back to San Diego, to New York, where she got to ring the stock exchange bell as a part of her media tour for 3M. Now, however, just three days after she’d finally gotten home, hours before she was supposed to go trick-or-treating, she was playing in her most arduous golf tournament to date — the CIF girls golf championships.

“I don’t normally play 18 holes for two days, since I don’t really play tournaments,” Fan said. “I wasn’t used to how much golf was involved in a tournament that big.”

While this hectic schedule and the difficulty of the course made it harder to concentrate, Fan was still able to get into the swing of things relatively quickly.

“[Even right before I started playing] I was still stressed out about all the assignments I had to catch up,” Fan said. “But [on the green], all you’re thinking about is golf. We’re not allowed to have our phones and there’s an hour of practice beforehand. So all you’re thinking about is golf, because all you’re doing is golf.”

Despite all the things she was juggling, Fan was the only girl on the golf team to have made it to the second round of the tournament. After scoring 84 day one, she shot an 85 the next, which wasn’t enough to be eligible for the 15-over-par cutoff for both days.

In part, Fan chalks her golf expertise up to how long she’s been playing the sport, she says. Despite her relative youth, she’s one of the more experienced members on the team—having played for five years, with a brief break because of COVID-19, before joining the team. Now that she has played for a season on the school team, she’s excited to have found a welcoming community that’s facilitated her love for the sport, she says.

“I actually didn’t like golf [when I used to play],” Fan said. “Now though, because the team is so supportive, and playing with them means you get to talk to someone while playing who cares just as much as you do, it’s something I really enjoy.”

Her own enthusiasm and the encouragement of her teammates propelled Fan to try her best to go as far as she could within the tournament, despite how busy she’d been amidst juggling the rest of her extracurriculars.

“I was just aiming to get to day two,” Fan said. “That’s kind of where they cut it off, so at least I could know that next year, I’d be able to do it too.”

More than anything, this has been a learning experience. Now that she’s seen that she’s able to juggle playing, and succeeding at both golf and her extracurriculars, she’s confident in her abilities as both sportsman and student.