Momoka Kobori returned home from a four-year golf scholarship at Pepperdine University in California last March and has started 2021 by turning professional and playing many of the pro-am tournaments around the country.
In her first event as a professional, she became the first female winner of a pro-am since the introduction of the mixed field events at the Cardinal Logistics Whitford Park Pro-Am.
Aiming to stay within New Zealand this year and continue with pro-ams and competing in the Jennian Homes Charles Tour, she has also started an NZPGA traineeship which she is excited to be completing at Pegasus Golf Club in Christchurch, learning about the management and coaching side of golf while competing in tournaments at the same time.
In this edition we do a Quick Round with Momoka Kobori.
How old were you when you started playing golf and who got you started?
I was 12 when I first started, and my dad got my brother and I into it. We also began by attending some after-school junior programs at Rangiora, and that’s how it began.
Where did you start playing golf?
I started playing at Rangiora Golf Club, just down the road from my high school at the time.
What is the lowest handicap you have ever played off?
My lowest handicap I have been on is +5.4.
What is your lowest round score and where were you playing?
I shot 8-under 64 at the University of New Mexico Course in Alberquerque in the US. This was in the final round of the Dick McGuire Invitational and led me to my first collegiate win, so it was pretty special.
How many ‘hole-in-one’s’ have you had?
Just one. It was at Christchurch Golf Club about six years ago, during one of our Canterbury rep matches.
How far do you hit your 7-iron?
My carry with a 7-iron is 135 yards. I’m still in the habit of working in yards from my time in the US.
What is the best part of your game?
My strength is in my short game and accuracy off the tee. It definitely helps to have these areas that I can count on, especially on days when my ball striking may not be the best.
What is your biggest fear on the golf course?
My biggest fear is probably signing the wrong scorecard. That’s why I have the habit of checking my card 3 times before handing them in.
What is your biggest frustration (pet peeve) when playing golf?
I don’t often come across frustrating moments on the course, but a very slow round of golf is never ideal. I would prefer to not be backed up too often whenever I’m out for a round.
What do you most love about playing golf?
I love the challenge that comes with constantly trying to improve your skill, and the satisfaction I get when I finally accomplish it. I feel that no matter how far you go, there are always parts that can be improved, and that’s what makes me want to practice time after time.
What is your most memorable moment in golf?
My most memorable moment so far is winning my first event as a professional at the Cardinal Logistics Pro-Am in January this year.
What is your favourite golf course?
My favourite golf course is Red Sky Golf Club in Vail, Colorado. It was the venue of one of the collegiate tournaments during my time at Pepperdine University, with beautiful views in the autumn season.
Who is the most famous person or best golfer you have played with?
I had the chance to play with Lydia Ko a few years ago, as part of the Lydia Ko Scholarship provided by Golf New Zealand. We were able to spend a few days playing and practicing with her in Orlando, and it was a very special experience that I learned so much from.
If you could pick any three people, alive or dead, to play in a four-ball with, who would they be? And do you have any particular reason for your choices?
I would choose to play with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. I would love to be able to play with and see how different their game is compared to my own.
Who would you get the most satisfaction out of beating on the golf course and why?
Because I spend a lot of time practicing and competing with my brother, I’m definitely happy when I beat him on the course, especially if we play off the same tees!
What is your favourite golf destination?
I would love to be able to play courses in Europe. I have never been to that part of the world before, so I would love to go around and see the different courses.
What would your “Champions Dinner” menu look like?
Can’t beat a decent steak with a good dessert!!
What is your favourite thing to do away from the golf course?
My favourite thing to do away from the course is to relax by reading or drawing with a good cup of coffee!