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  • Writer's picturePiers Manktelow

Meet Ainil Bakar, the patriotic Malaysian aiming for the LPGA in 2018.

Meet Ainil Bakar a professional golfer from Malaysia who has been playing on the Ladies European Tour and China LPGA in 2017. She talks about how she got into golf, what she loves away from the course, her aims for 2018 and how she plans to achieve them, plus her love for Malaysia! This year she is back in the LET for the third season running thanks to her gutsy display at LET Qualifying School in Morocco. Ainil shot a final-round three-under 69 to finish on a five-under in the demanding 90-hole contest to sneak into the top 25 cut, tying for 19th spot.

When did you first start playing golf?

I first started when I was 10 years old.

When did you realize you were good enough to make golf your job?

I started winning tournaments when i was 11 and from there i knew if i keep working hard i can get to the next level.

Who are/were your golfing heroes growing up?

It will always be Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstom

Is golf a popular sport in Malaysia among girls?

Now yes, we have about 10 girls playing professionally and there are a lot more juniors coming up. It's really growing and i hope it will continue to grow.

what do you love most about golf?

Travelling. I love to travel and by playing golf I get to travel and play the game I love. Meeting new people and seeing a new places every week has been really amazing.

How can we get more girls to play golf?

I always spend time with all the juniors and share with them my stories on tour. I make them excited and keep telling them to have fun! that is the most important part to have fun when their practicing and playing.

What do you like to do away from golf? I read you love to read, whats the best book you have read?

I think i don’t read that much anymore. I love to travel now, do something out of my comfort zone. I like to do outdoor stuff like fishing, camping and other sports like badminton but i still read occasionally, mostly golf books. Right now I’m reading Every shot must have a purpose.

You finished 108th on the Ladies European Tour (LET) order of merit and 34th on the China LPGA, however, you got your card back at Q school. How would you say your 2017 season went?

2017 has been a bitter sweet year for me. I played well on the China tour but unfortunately not really on the LET. But getting back my card on LET for 2018 was a great way to end the year and a great confident boost for this year!

In 2016 you won the EVLI Ladies Finish Open, what our your memories of that?

It was my first time in Finland and the weather was really cold for me! the course was in superb condition but the wind was really blowing on us. I'm not used to playing in that kind of weather, so i just told my self to stay patient. I putted really well that week and that helped me a lot that.

Last year you mixed up playing on the LET and the CLPGA what our the main differences between the 2 tours?

The China golfing industry is really growing and the tour is getting bigger each year, and they really have great players coming up. We have 4 co- sanctioned tournaments with LET as well. Both tours are well organised and I really enjoy playing on both tours. There is not much difference really, the courses are pretty long and narrow the same as European golf course.

What is your biggest strength on the golf course?

I would say my short game.

And what do you need to work on most on your golf game?

PUTTING! I have been spending more time on the putting green. My average putting is 32 ( not good at all) so this year my goal is to bring it down to below 30.

What are your 2 favorite practice drills?

Putting and pitch shots.

For putting I will always use 5 balls on the green and put 10 tees around the hole starting from 3 feet and i will try to hole 50-100 in a row depending on how much time i have. I like to practice the shot putts because it will always come down to those when you’re playing tournament. For pitch shots I will put a bucket 40-100 yards and spend a few hours practicing those .

How often do you practice when you are at home?

I practice everyday when I’m home and I probably play 3 times a week.

Any tips for anyone visiting Malaysia?

We have so many great golf courses here in Malaysia! and most of the golf courses use golf carts so that is always a bonus since its very hot and humid! you will see a lot of monkeys on the golf course as well! But i keep telling everyone when they are coming here to really enjoy the food! you might want to be careful as well because our food can get a little spicy.

You have played golf all over the world what has been your favorite place to visit?

I enjoy more on cold places because I just don’t get that at home. I love to see the mountain and lakes! But every time I travel i will try to go and visit the city and all the historical places.

What our your plans for the 2018 season?

My goal this year is to WIN! I would love to go for LPGA q school this year as well.

We wish Ainil all the best for the 2018 season! We will keep an eye on those putting stats :) and wish her luck to with her aim of Q school on the LPGA.

Follow Ainil on social media;

Instagram: ainilbakar

Twitter: @AinilJohani

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