Rasmey Kong had never stepped foot onto Bretwood Golf Course in Keene, New Hampshire, prior to June 23. Kong was teeing it up at the New England Golf championship meet.
He finished with a 2-under-par round of 70 to finish tied for second. Yet the North Haven junior left the grounds a little disappointed.
“I put the ball in the water three times and made two bogeys,” Kong said. “Although I was pretty happy with that, I still was really unhappy I did not give myself a chance to shoot an even lower score.”
Said North Haven golf coach Steve Feuring: “He was disappointed on the drive home knowing without those two penalty strokes, he could have shot 67 or 68 and won the tournament.”
Still, the performance capped off a great postseason for the Register Area MVP. He was also the medalist in both the Southern Connecticut Conference and Division II state tournament meets.
“I’ve been involved golf for over 50 years. I’ve been to quite a few professional events and I’ve played some amateur events myself. I’ve never seen anyone hit the ball as good as he does and have a short game as good as he does,” Feuring said. “His short game is better than half of the professionals on the PGA Tour. I stand by that.”
And to think Kong, a three-time All-Area performer, struggled the first month of the season. In some of his nine-hole matches, Kong failed to break 40.
Feuring chalked it up to a few things: first, he had grown almost three inches in the off-season. Second, he was adjusting to a new set of clubs. And third, well, it’s the winter time — and Kong is a member of the school’s fencing team.
Kong shot under par in all three postseason matches. He posted a 1-under 70 at Race Brook CC in Orange to win the SCC’s individual title. The 68 at Fairview Farms GC in Harwinton gave him medalist laurels for the second straight year in the Division II state meet.
In both events, Kong edged out last year’s Area MVP, Brian Carlson of Hand.
“At SCCs, I played really well and grinded every shot. They made the course a lot tougher than the past few years, so to go shoot an under-par round was great for me,” Kong said. “Before the (Division II meet), I remembered back to why I practice and why I work hard and it paid off on every single shot and I made every putt.”
Said Feuring: “He’s got a great attitude, a good demeanor and he thrives on pressure. He wants the pressure of something to play for.”
Kong, a 17-year-old whose parents hail from Cambodia, said when he is not playing tournament golf, he plays between 36-45 holes every weekday and practices on the weekend an additional five-six hours each day. But he feels it’s his work ethic and “mental fortitude” that sets him apart.
“I’ve have had this work ethic for a long time,” Kong said. “The mind is a powerful thing. If you can control your mind at the right time and on certain shots, you can be a great a golfer. I read a book about Tiger Woods and his dad said no one will be like Tiger because of his mind. That’s why he played the game so differently than everyone.”
Kong said he has received interest from both Sacred Heart and Fairfield, but he wants to play for a college in the southern part of the United States.