Siyan Chen, a junior at Bishops Gate Golf Academy, has verbally committed to play golf for the University of Illinois women’s golf team.
Chen, from Hangzhou, China, is not a stranger to success. Since coming to BGGA she’s flourished on the junior golf tours, accumulating 14 wins, including the 2016 Scott Robertson Memorial, the 2016 and 2017 FJT Tour Championship and the 2018 Sea Pines Junior Heritage Championship.
“I think all areas of my game have improved, but the most improved part is my short game,” said Chen. “When I first came to BGGA I shot in the 80s and now my scoring average is 73. I now play consistently in tournaments.”
At the end of the 2016-17 academic year, Chen was named BGGA’s Female Player of the Year. After that, Chen qualified to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Girls Junior.
Chen, 16, started playing golf with her father at the age of six but didn’t start taking it seriously until she was 10 years old and met some friends who also played golf.
“Golf teaches me a lot,” said Chen. “You need to stay calm and focused for four or five hours during a round. I have learned how to deal with and come back from bad shots and situations. And I can make many new friends!”
Chen dreams of playing on the LPGA Tour and becoming No. 1 in the world, but before that stage in her life she wants to play college golf with the goal of taking her team to the NCAA Championship and winning the individual title.
“Illinois gave me a full scholarship,” said Chen. “They have a really strong men’s team, so I think the women’s team can be good too.”
Illinois’ women’s golf team is ranked No. 26 in the college rankings and led by head coach Renee Slone, who is in her 12th season.
Chen feels she’ll be more prepared for college golf life after living at BGGA. “What we do at BGGA is pretty similar to the college environment,” said Chen. “I’ve learned how to play good golf and still keep my grades up. BGGA has prepared me well for college.”
Chen is finishing her third year at BGGA and will sign her national letter of intent in November 2018.