WAPL Champion Memories: Candie Kung (2001)

Candie Kung claimed the 2001 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links at Kemper Lakes G.C. in suburban Chicago. (USGA/Steve Gibbons)
By Lisa D. Mickey
June 5, 2014

When Candie Kung, 19, of Chinese Taipei, defeated Missy Farr-Kaye, of Scottsdale, Ariz., 2 up, to win the 2001 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Long Grove, Ill., she became the second foreign-born WAPL champion, joining Pearl Sinn. It also was Kung’s first national title in the United States.  Kung, the 1997 U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up, became the first of two Chinese Taipei golfers to win the WAPL. Yani Tseng would win the championship three years later, beating Michelle Wie in the final.Kung, a former University of Southern California All-American who won the 2000 Pacific-10 Conference title, currently playson the LPGA Tour, where she owns four victories, three of which came in the 2003 season. She also was the runner-up to Eun-Hee Ji at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open..

What did winning the WAPL mean to you?It means a lot to me because it’s a USGA event. Ever since I started to play golf, I wanted to win a USGA event – it didn’t matter what it was. The [U.S.] Girls’ Junior, the Women’s Public Links, the [U.S.] Women’s Amateur – I always tried to win those events because the USGA holds great events. The golf courses are always tough, which suits my game because I hit it pretty straight and I’m pretty consistent. Also, the match-play format in the amateur events gives me a tougher mentality going into every match.

What is your most vivid memory from that championship week?

All I remember is my dad caddied for me, and it was a great win because he was on the bag. He caddied for me the week before that [at the Women’s Western Amateur], so he was on the bag for two weeks in a row. We both were kind of tired toward the end of the week. But we got the trophy at the end of the week. I loved that trophy because I always wanted that trophy, or any USGA event trophy. That’s pretty much all I remember because it was a long time ago.

When you won the WAPL the week after the Women’s Western Amateur, you had played 17 rounds, or 282 holes of competitive golf, in 14 days. You must have been exhausted, but you were aWAPL stroke-play medalist who also happened to win the championship. Was that satisfying to win both stroke play and the match-play portion of the event?

Oh yeah, I was definitely tired, but being 19 years old actually helped. When you are 19, your body doesn’t get tired and you just go and go and go. And when you’re winning matches, you don’t even know you are playing 36 holes in one day. You just go. And then you go back to your hotel room, sleep, wake up and you go again. If you wanted me to do that right now, I wouldn’t be able to do it, but at 19 years old, you can do whatever you want.

Does a particular match stand out?

I don’t remember anything at all. All I do is go out there and play one shot at a time. I tried to keep hitting it in the fairway, keep hitting it on the green, keep making my putts, and hopefully win the hole and just keep it going. I don’t really know who my competitors are. I just go.

Do you still stay in touch with anyone you met at the WAPL?

It’s kind of hard to meet somebody at the Women’s Public Links because all of these girls are from the public golf courses and the top junior golfers – most of them – belong to country clubs. So I don’t really get to play with a whole lot of players who come out from public [courses].

Where does the WAPL title fit into your golf career?

It plays a very important part in my golf career just because [in] USGA events … you have to be mentally tough and physically fit to be able to play that many rounds, and you have to be consistent in all the matches to get to the championship round [and] then to win it. The preparation of winning the Public Links started when I was a junior, building up to that event, and that event gave me confidence to go on. I actually qualified [for the LPGA Tour] at LPGA Q-School at the end of that year, so it played a big part in my golf career.

How do you feel about the WAPL championship being retired after this year?

It’s kind of sad. There are so many golfers out there who don’t have a country club to play and the Public Links gives these girls an opportunity to play against the girls who grow up at a public golf course and don’t have the privilege to practice at country clubs. But there’s going to be more tournaments out there for girls to play, so it’s going to be awesome.

Lisa Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.  

APL-WAPL Memories Home


Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image