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Suzie Tran hopes to join the ranks of top female golfers Erynne Lee and Brittany Kwon to come from the peninsula

By George Edgar
For West Sound SportsPlus

Suzie Tran hasn’t had to look far for inspiration when it comes to golf.

Watching the likes of local players Erynne Lee and Brittany Kwon helped inspire her play when she was growing up. Now her hope is to join their ranks as one of the top local female golfers in Kitsap County.

And she’s hasn’t even started high school yet.

A homeschooled incoming-freshman from Poulsbo, Tran is part of the field at the Washington Amateur Women’s Championship at Gold Mountain this week. She was a contender last year, when she shot an opening round 69 at Sudden Valley in Spokane and eventually finished third.

Tran shot a disappointing 82 to open the Amateur championship at Gold Mountain on Tuesday, as she, like everyone else involved, was trying to get their groove back from the coronavirus quarantine.

In the second round, she shot a two-over 74 for a two-day total of 12-over 156. The third round continues Thursday at Gold Mountain’s Cascade Course.

Lee is now on the LPGA Tour and Kwon is a freshman at the University of Washington, and is one of the leaders at the amateur championship.

“They’re acquaintances,” said her father, Anh Tran, a teacher at Poulsbo Middle School. “They play golf with her quite a bit. They’ve seen each other a lot at the driving range on Waaga Way (now closed).”

“I definitely admired the way they played,” Suzie Tran said. “They inspired me a lot.”

Suzie has been golfing since she was five years old. 

“My brother started playing,” she recalled, “and I wanted to be like him.”

Suzie has been homeschooled for most of her life, but plans on attending North Kitsap High School starting her freshman year, as well as playing golf for the Vikings. She used to attend dance classes, but decided to concentrate on golf full time.

This is her third trip to the women’s amateur. Last year’s third-place finish, including going two-under in the first round, surprised everyone, including her, that an eighth grader was taking on college age and older players.

“It was definitely a surprise,” Suzie said of her opening round last year. “With eight birdies, it was definitely lot of fun. I didn’t expect that. I was looking to learn from the college players I was against, and gain experience.”

Suzie was in contention until a third-round 81 on the third day, and eventually finished seven strokes behind champion Rino Sasaki.

“I’ve never been in a leader situation that I was in,” she said. “I was definitely nervous.”

At Gold Mountain, she shot a first round 82, 10-under par. The women’s am was her first tournament since the start of the state quarantine. She opened her first round with a triple bogey on the first hole, and struggled to stay close to even throughout the day.

“It was a rough first day,” Tran said. “I’m hoping to improve. I had a little trouble with the greens.”

Her second round was much better, getting a birdie on No. 3 and staying on the greens.

She is also fighting an injury to her left wrist, ignoring the trouble to play golf. She plans to have it looked at in the fall.

Kwon had a one-over 73 in her second round, putting her in a three-way tie for the lead going into the final round. She has a two-day total of 143 with Madelyn Gamble of Pleasant Hill, California, and Jessica Mangrobang of Spokane.

Brittany Kwon of Silverdale is in a three-way tie for the lead at the Washington State Women’s Amateur Championship Wednesday at Gold Mountain. Know was the lone leader after the opening round Tuesday. (Photo: WSGA)
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