Year 9 student Lili Brecken is impressing on the golf course. With aspirations to go pro, we find out how she plans to make her dream a reality
What first attracted you to golf?
My dad and my grandad played golf and one day I just asked my dad if he would take me to have a go. We went to the local driving range and I hit a few shots and really enjoyed it.
What do you like most about golf and who do you look up to within the sport?
Golf is challenging and that makes it fun. When I play in tournaments, I enjoy that I am competing not only against other players but also against myself as I am always trying to play well to keep lowering my handicap.
I know [Scottish professional golfer] Carly Booth and she really inspires me. She is very determined and a lovely person. I also know [English pro golfer] Sophie Lamb and she offers me advice. I played in the Abu Dhabi Pro-Am last January with [Chinese pro golfer] Haotong Li and I keep in touch with him, which is cool.
My coach, Jules Lompech, is awesome. He makes me work really hard on my game and I owe so much of my improvement and progress to him. I am also really lucky to be a member of Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where everyone is really supportive, as well as Abersoch Golf Club in the UK, where I get lots of support, too.
Do you play any other sports that complement your golf?
I play hockey and netball at school and I go to the gym to work on my core strength and develop the muscles in my arms and legs to help my golf.
What are your most memorable golfing achievements and where do you hope to go from here?
I was invited by Omega to play in the first ever floodlit professional golf event in Dubai in May 2019. It was a Ladies European Tour pro-am and I played with Sophie Lamb. It was an amazing experience that gave me a real look into the world of professional golf. I also played night golf in December last year with The Jazzy Golfer in Abu Dhabi. That was a brilliant experience and I got lots of exposure on social media.
Recently, I finished in the top three in several Junior Master Tour events and I am currently second in the order of merit. Winning the first Ladies Section Medal of 2020 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club was pretty cool, as it was my first win in the adult section. When I moved to Abu Dhabi in January 2018 my handicap was 33. My current handicap is nine and I want to get down to five by the end of 2020. My goal is to be a scratch handicap golfer by the end of 2021 and then go to college in the US before turning professional.
When I play in tournaments, I enjoy that I am competing not only against other players but also against myself as I am always trying to play wellLili Brecken
What support do you receive from your school?
My friends and teachers at The Cambridge High School – Abu Dhabi are really supportive and encourage me with my golf. I am allowed to have time off to play in events if any take place during the week. I do some golf practice every night during the school week as preparation for competitive tournaments at the weekends.
How do you balance this with your school commitments?
I find managing schoolwork and golf quite easy at the moment but I know as I move into my IGCSEs next academic year it will get harder.
Any advice for others looking to develop their golf?
Just go for it and enjoy yourself!