Dubai: Muni He described her transition from the amateur to professional ranks as “pretty smooth” as she opened with a solid one-under 71 at the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old rising star from China notched up two birdies, one in each half, against just one bogey to sit just four shots off the pace despite feeling like she’d left some shots out on the course.
“I think it went pretty smoothly. I was just kind of able to play my own game and had a lot of fun out there. I had a lot of really good chances that I missed. That’s OK. It just means there is room for improvement,” said Muni, who finished a creditable tied 30th as an amateur invite to the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic.
“I was a bit nervous before going out, just because I have came from the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage-3 and I didn’t really perform too well there. I got in Tuesday night, so knowing that today was my first professional round, I did feel a little bit of nervousness,” said Muni, who flashed a glimpse of her precocious talent when she qualified for and made the cut at 2015 US Open.
Asked why she decided to launch his professional career in Dubai, she said: “I was here last year and I think it’s such a wonderful tournament and it’s such a great experience. Having this tournament right after the third stage, I though it would be a great opportunity to come back and return as a professional this year,” said the Chinese prodigy who was paired with eventual champion Shanshan Feng in the first two rounds in 2016.
“I really admire Shanshan in every way possible, as a person and as a player. Very happy to see her just become the first world number one from China. It’s something for me to work towards and very motivating,” said Muni.
About her goals for 2018, she said: “I am planning on playing the Symetra Tour. So my goals are just to get through it and be able to get my card by the end of the year and better my game,” said Muni who was introduced to golf by her dad.
“I grew up on a golf course, so I might not have played when I was three years old, but I was all round it.”