It was a historic day for two Bishops Gate Golf Academy (BGGA) students as they won the “Golf Ball Diplomacy” Duel representing Team China against Team USA at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Team China was represented by BGGA students Tianyu “Jeffrey” Wu, 15, and Mashengjun “Francis” Li, 16. The pair are two of China’s most promising youth golfers.
Representing Team USA was Amari “Tigress” Avery, 13, and her younger sister, Alona, 10, of Riverside, CA.
The match was intense and came down to the final hole. A birdie by Wu on the par-4 18th sealed the deal for Team China giving them a 1 up win.
“On 18, we both hit it on the fairway, and then I hit my second shot within two feet to win the tournament.”
The match got off to a great start for Team China when they took the first hole with a birdie.
“I started the day not that well but Francis made birdie on the first hole so we got off to a 1 up lead,” said Wu.
The match went back and forth from there. Team USA got themselves back to all square on No. 3 and went 1 up on No. 7.
“The girls started to come back,” said Wu. “Their putting was really good and their short game was amazing.”
Team China quickly won the eighth hole with a par before giving up the ninth hole to Team USA’s birdie. Team China went on to play 1 up lead on Nos. 11-15 before Team USA won No. 16 with a birdie to take the match all square.
The match remained all square on 17 until Team China sealed the win on No. 18.
“These four kids truly represent the future,” stated Lisa Wang, a spokesperson for China’s Reignwood Group. “These friendly matches being held over two days at one of the world’s best golf courses will provide the perfect backdrop to the very serious discussions and negotiations taking place between President’s Xi and Trump at Mar-a-Lago. We are confident that this ‘Golf Ball Diplomacy’ will create the same kind of friendship and cooperation that Ping Pong Diplomacy did exactly forty-six years ago to the day on April 6, 1971.”
Wu, a sophomore and in his second year at BGGA, has a scoring average of 72 and low score of 69. He placed second two times so far in 2017 at the Florida Junior Tour at West Orange and at the IMG Tour at Victoria Hills.
Li is in his junior year and has been at BGGA for three years. With a scoring average of 75 and a low score of 68, Li has won on the Shanghai Golf Tour and International Junior Golf Tour.
The match was held to help celebrate the 46th anniversary of the famous “Ping Pong Diplomacy” diplomatic exchange and ping pong matches between the United States and China which ushered in the normalization of relations between the U.S. and China.
This event coincided with the much-anticipated summit meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump, on Thursday April 6, 2017 and Friday April 7, 2017 – the same days as the Presidential Summit Meeting taking place at the nearby Mar-a-Lago presidential retreat.
The event was organized by China’s Ministry of Sport, China’s Reignwood Group and the United States of America.