Pakistan’s top lady golfer Humna Amjad is young and ambitious and believes she has what it takes to become the country’s first-ever girl on the international professional tour
If you are a regular visitor at Karachi's Airmen Golf Club these days you would find a young girl there either on the range, practice green or the course. She is there each morning and evening working hard to realise her most cherished dream: Become the first Pakistani girl to play on the LPGA Tour.
Meet Humna Amjad. She is 18 but has already established herself as the country's number one female golfer. After making a clean sweep of national junior titles, Humna quickly rose among the amateurs ranks, becoming the national ladies champion at 14. She made her international debut in 2017 by representing Pakistan in the girls under-16 event of the Faldo Series Asia Finals in Vietnam. She made another appearance in the Faldo Series, the biggest junior golf tournament in the world in 2019. She also competed in the Bangladesh National Amateurs, Indonesian Junior Championship and Asia Pacific Junior Championship in Japan.
But her international breakthrough finally came in the recently-held Egyptian Ladies Amateur Championship for the Nefertiti Cup played at the picturesque El Gouna Golf Club in Hurghada, Egypt.
Humna turned out to be the surprise package of the tournament that featured golfers from several countries including Jordan, Korea, Morocco, Qatar, Russia, Tunisia, UAE and hosts Egypt.
She shared the lead with Sofia Essakali of Morocco after the opening round and finally finished as the runner-up. The second place finish helped Humna qualify for the Aramco Saudi International -- a European Tour event -- to be played in Jeddah later this year. Humna's team-mate Parkha Ijaz finished fifth in a field of 17 players.
"Playing in Egypt was an amazing experience," Humna told 'The News on Sunday' in an interview. "We played in really windy conditions. Players and officials were actually surprised to see Pakistani girls competing so well," she added.
Humna started playing golf almost seven years ago when she was 11. Surprisingly Jacobabad, which did not even have a golf course at that time, became her first ever training ground.
"My father Amjad Nazir who is a PAF officer was posted in Jacobabad. As a kid I first started playing tennis but soon realised I wasn't really good at it. They had a golf range there right next to the tennis courts. My father took me there and within a few days I made up my mind to take up golf."
Humna's rise in junior golf was meteoric. Within three years of taking up the sport, she won the Faldo Series under-16 title at Karachi's Defence Authority Country and Golf Club in 2017 at age 13. The very next year she won the Nationals.
"The day I won the Nationals I told myself that I can make a future in golf. From then onwards I really started working hard to achieve my goals."
For the last few years, Humna has been following a regimental routine. She gets up early in the morning and heads to the golf course. She practices for a couple of hours and then plays nine holes.
She repeats the same routine in the evening. "I practice for around seven to eight hours daily," she said.
With golf her main priority, Humna's studies have taken the back seat.
"The biggest problem I have to face are my studies as many schools don't cooperate, like I had to miss school sometimes for tournaments or practice but never received much support from my school. So I have decided to study privately."
Humna's biggest test yet will come in Jeddah where she will face a tough field and a long, challenging course.
"I know that it will be a different ball game in Saudi," she said. "So I am going to change my swing a bit. I will try to hit it long because the course in Jeddah is long. I will also try and work harder on my short game so if I miss some of the greens there I can still save pars."
It's not that Humna cannot hit long. She averages 250 yards with the driver but wants to gain 15 to 20 more yards in order to be ready for the Saudi challenge.
Humna, whose favourite courses in Pakistan are the Peshawar Golf Club and Multan's Rumanza, idolises American LPGA star Nelly Korda and wants to emulate her.
"My favourite professional in Pakistan is Shabbir Iqbal and Rory Mcilroy on the PGA Tour. But my all time favourite is Nelly Korda," she said.
No Pakistani female has ever become a professional golfer. Humna's aim is not to just become a mere professional. Her target is to become a leading professional internationally.
Can she do it?
Ask her and she will tell you that anything is possible.
"I have come a long way since hitting my first golf ball on the range in Jacobabad. I'm confident that with hard work I can make my dream come true."
Khalid Hussain is Editor Sports The News