Emily Leung talks golf and Mini Coopers

A chat with SFU’s star golfer and reigning GNAC Player of the Year

"I’d like to repeat as the Player of the Year, have a scoring average of 75, and be on the WGCA All-West Region Team." -Emily Leung (Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics)

By: Chris Januardi Lim

Name: Emily Leung

Year: Junior

Major: Business

Hometown: Richmond, BC

Favourite Musician: Got7

Emily Leung led Simon Fraser to last season’s women’s golf Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship title, in which the team won by 19 shots at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course (Idaho) in April 2017. She finished six strokes ahead of teammate Kylie Jack in the tournament, securing the individual title, and helping her win GNAC Player of Year for the 2016–17 season. She is off to a hot start this year as well, helping SFU women’s golf place first out of all GNAC teams at the Rose City Collegiate Tournament in September with her placing fifth overall. Read the following to find out how she balances golf with school, and her thoughts on Mini Coopers.

The Peak: Why SFU?

Emily: I’ve always planned to settle down in Canada after school. I also wanted to join a golf team. After graduating [from] high school, SFU just made the most sense for me. This is Canada’s only NCAA school, and it also has an academically strong business and co-op program.

P: What surprised you the most when you first joined as a student athlete?

E: I had to plan my time more wisely—there’s way more commitment. Not only do I have a commitment for my school work, I also made a commitment with my coaches and teammates. You’re responsible for your own planning. There are academic advisors to keep me motivated, but in the end you have to plan everything and no one will tell you what to do and when to do [it].

P: What does your weekly life look like?

E: Well, Saturdays and Sundays are my qualifying rounds, [which determine] who is going to tournament play. If I qualify, Mondays and Tuesdays could end up being the days for the tournaments. If not, I will have Monday off and a 7 a.m. workout and 6 p.m. practice on Tuesday. My Wednesdays are my “days off” — I have a seven [hours of] class, because I try to mostly schedule all my classes [on] this day. Thursdays I have the 7 a.m. workout and the 6 p.m. practice again . . . [O]n Friday I have no classes, but I usually go to have a group practice to finish our objectives — our “Game of the Week.” I also use this day to catch up on all my readings, all my assignments, and all my studying. So if you think about it, my days off are not really days off, haha.

P: Does having a packed schedule conflict with anything?

E: I can’t really [do] my other hobbies anymore, like tennis and table tennis. I haven’t practiced my piano in a long time as well.

P: So speaking of conflicts, what’s harder to prepare for: a midterm or final, or a big tournament?

E: I tend to prepare more for the midterm or final. I want to prioritize studying more because at this point, school is more important and I want do well at it.

P: You obviously have to travel a lot for golf. What’s the best place you’ve travelled to?

E: I love travelling. I had a chance to represent Hong Kong [and] to play overseas, like [in] South Korea, Thailand, Brunei, and various places in China. Travelling with the SFU team now is better, because we go as a group, I’ve been to places like Las Vegas and California. The school pays for the travel too, so that’s good . . . Although sometimes, when we have long drives, it can be uncomfortable. Imagine a seven-seater car, with six people, five sets of golf clubs, [and] six duffel bags . . . [T]he drives can be six hours [long], [and] we even have a 10-hour drive to our conference tournament!

P: Here comes the most important question: if you could be a car, what kind of a car would you be and why?

E: Maybe an Audi because it’s cool. Oh, or probably a Mini Cooper because it’s small and it’s unique since you can customize the look and everything.

P: Lastly, what are the goals for yourself and the team this year?

E: For the team, we’d like to defend the conference title and win two more events. We had a goal to break 300 altogether, but we did that already — so now we’re going to try to break 290. For myself, I’d like to repeat as the Player of the Year, have a scoring average of 75, and be on the WGCA All-West Region Team.

Athlete’s Corner:

I’m really thankful to the late women’s SFU golf coach [John Buchanan]. He passed away this year, and he was the one who gave me the opportunity to play and study here. I sent emails to many schools, and not many wanted to give me a chance, or even replied.

It’s also great to see the growth of the golf team over the years. In my first year, only five girls could make the tournaments, and this year 10 girls can make the tournaments because we all play really great golf. We’ve been getting more support from the local golf community as well as the school. We have assistant coaches and many other people who help us out now. It’s great to have the team come together and push each other. I think we can achieve a lot this year because we have such a great team.