Tommy Mou’s life seems to be one big journey.
First, he left his native Taiwan when he was 11 and landed in Bradenton, going to the IMG golf academy. That was followed by moving to Gainesville and becoming a key member of the Florida Gators’ golf team.
This week, Mou’s travels have taken him to Miami Beach for the South Beach International Amateur.
The UF senior put on an impressive show Tuesday, shooting a 5-under-par 66 at the Miami Beach Golf Club. The 66 broke by two shots the Miami Beach course record for play in the South Beach International.
The first two days of the tournament have the field split between playing at Miami Beach Golf Club and Normandy Shores. After the cut following Wednesday’s second round, the final two rounds will be played entirely at Miami Beach.
The word International is in the tournament’s name for good reason.
Over at Normandy Shores on Tuesday, Juan Pablo Hernandez of Mexico City and the University of Arizona shot a 5-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Mou and Billy Kennerly of Clemson University. Kennerly’s 66 came at Normandy Shores, which is a par-70 compared to Miami Beach’s 71.
Mou’s round Tuesday consisted of five birdies and 13 pars. “You can never complain about a day with no bogeys,” Mou said.
Mou’s parents live in Taiwan and he only returns to his homeland occasionally. Mou’s father introduced him to golf when he was 9.
“I’ve been playing ever since,” he said.
His golf résumé includes three holes-in-one; the first when he was 10. Apparently, he wasn’t that impressed. “I can’t hardly remember the shot,” he said.
Mou’s confidence was growing Tuesday after his strong opening round.
“If I just play well and try not to force anything, it’s possible to win this tournament,” he said. “That’s the plan. We’ll see how it goes.”
Mou, 6-2 and 180, has enjoyed college life in Gainesville, where he has studied anthropology. “It’s a great place, and I even managed to stay out of trouble,” he joked.
However, college life comes to an end in May when Mou graduates. Will all that studying of anthropology be put to use?
Mou smiled and quickly shook his head.
“No,” he said. “I would rather be playing professional golf.”
1. Juan Pablo Hernandez, Mexico City, 65 (-5); 2. Tommy Mou, Taiwan, 66 (-5); 3. Billy Kennerly, Clemson, 66 (-4); 4. Jorge Garcia, Venezuela/Plantation American Heritage, 67 (-4); 5. Eli Cole, Beverly Hills, Calif., 67 (-3); 6. Brad Gehl, Carmel, Ind., 67 (-3); 7. Sebastian Soderberg, Ojersjo, Sweden, 68 (-3); 8. Hunter Sparks, Oklahoma City, Okla., 67 (-3).