PAST: Point Grey Grey Hounds
PRESENT: Point Grey Golf and Country Club
FUTURE: Columbia Lions
Rachel Shi is more than accurate. She's precise. Pin sharp.
"Every time she chips, she's thinking of actually chipping it in," said golf instructor and LPGA player Taronne Atley, who hasn't seen accuracy like Shi's in the 30 years she's coached teenagers.
Shi, 17, takes a meticulous approach to her short game, a strategy that often lands her on the green before the ball.
"She will walk to the green to see her line and will analyzes a chip like it's a 10-foot putt," said Atley. "Her mental mind must be very calm. All she sees is the pin."
Shi could see the pin but not where her ball landed on the fourth hole of Delta's Beach Grove Golf Club during the CN Canadian Women's Tour in May when she shot the first hole-in-one of her career on the 166-foot par-three.
Spectators saw her tee-shot drop and went wild. Shi saw them react and asked, "What happened?"
Atley, her caddy for the two-round tournament as well as her mentor and coach, had the answer. "It went in. If it was close they'd have been clapping," she said. "They were jumping up and down off the ground."
A member at the Point Grey Golf and Country Club, Shi's best round on the par-72 course is a one-under 71. She will add an even greater competitive edge if she can add another 10 yards to her driver and she'll have the opportunity in September when she joins the NCAA Div. I Lions at Columbia University.
Shi, who moved to Vancouver with her parents in October 2009, has played on the Canadian and Chinese amateur tours and since 2008 has twice won the China Junior Amateur tournament. In 2011 she placed third at the Canadian Junior Golf Association's Mizuno-sponsored national championship and topped that in 2012 when she tied for second. At the 2012 B.C. Summer Games, she outshot the competition to win by two strokes.
Her first instructor at age 12 was a professional on the Japanese tour who didn't speak the same languages as his student. They communicated without words and five years later, Shi is fluent in Japanese and the two still talk.
In any language, Shi makes the cut.
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