His cousin is a pro golfer, and Lydia Ko is a family friend, so it’s not surprising that ACG Parnell College’s Bowen Shao has a great swing.
It’s so good, in fact, that he has just qualified for the 2022 World Stars of Golf Championship in Las Vegas after taking top honours in his age group at the World Stars New Zealand competition.
“I feel very happy and excited – it’s definitely my biggest golfing achievement so far,” says Bowen (12), who in pre-Covid 2019 played in the IMG Academy Junior World Championships in San Diego and the Future Champion Golf Tournament in Palm Springs.
Since first picking up a club at the age of four, Bowen’s golfing prowess has skyrocketed. Playing competitively for the past four years, he has accumulated a slew of titles and accolades, including winning six North Island championship titles for his age group in 2021 tournaments alone. The 22 hours he spends practising each week are clearly paying off.
“Time management is becoming very important for me because as well as practising golf, I need to study very hard so I can go to my dream university, Stanford. My goal is to play for the Stanford golf team, and I want to play the Masters.”
For now, though, Bowen and the formidable ACG Parnell College Golf B team are laying some significant foundations. Comprised of Year 7 and 8 students - yet competing against high schooled aged students - the team finished the season unbeaten, winning the College Sport Auckland Premier Division 3 title.
“I’m really enjoying the teamwork, and I feel really proud to honour my school. For me, golf is not just about the results but also the journey. That’s the part I enjoy the most. ACG has taught me how to set realistic short-term and long-term goals and plan how to achieve them. I like to keep pushing myself to see how far I can go. Everything is possible with enough perseverance!”
And when it comes to achieving his goals, both academic and sporting, Bowen has no shortage of encouragement.
“I’m so grateful to my parents and coach for always supporting me, and my ACG teachers are very kind and supportive too. During the lockdown, I’ll never forget that my teachers were still available online to answer my questions at 10pm! It was so impressive.”
And after seven years at the school, Bowen is still in his element.
“I love ACG Parnell and its values – they are what really influence and guide me.”