Ervin Chang aims to end US collegiate career on a high, professional golf beckons post Master’s and internship

Photo by Liberty Golf Media

Top Malaysian men’s amateur Ervin Chang aims to end his US collegiate golf career with a bang by turning in a strong performance in next week’s NCAA Regionals.

In his final year with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Ervin and his Liberty Flames team-mates qualified in style for the NCAA Regionals by winning last month’s ASUN Conference Championship for the first time. Ervin finished tied for seventh in the individual standings on three-under-par 210 (69-74-67).

“Making it to the Regionals is definitely exciting … to be able to compete against other great schools and players is pretty amazing,” said the 23-year-old, who was recently named ASUN Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time in his collegiate career.

The NCAA Regionals will be played at six sites next week, with teams awaiting the results of a televised draw on May 5 to find out their venues. The Liberty Flames team has made the Regionals nine times in the last 10 seasons and will be looking to advance to the blue-ribbon NCAA Division 1 National Championship at the end of May for the second time running. In the 2019 National Championship, Ervin and his team-mates finished 20th out of 30 teams.

“I think we have a pretty good chance of making it to the NCAA National Championship. Our team has a lot of great players who have been playing well the whole season. We just have to keep doing what we are doing now, and do our best at the Regionals and Nationals,” said Ervin.

In six events this year, Ervin posted a pair of top-10 finishes and played five of 15 rounds at par or better, ranking third on the Liberty Flames roster with a 71.67 scoring average. He matched his career low score of seven-under-par 63 during the second round of the Gator Invitational in February, finishing the event tied for seventh.

Ervin noted that he will be completing his Master’s programme in player development this summer, followed by an internship. After that, the option of turning professional is certainly on the table.

“I’m still trying to sort out my plans after NCAA, such as my Master’s degree completion and internship. I’m pretty certain that professional golf will be happening but, when exactly, I’m not certain yet. I am still waiting for certain tour schedules to be released,” he revealed.

Currently ranked 317th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, just one spot ahead of fellow Malaysian Marcus Lim, Ervin enthused that it was good to be back in regular action following last year’s Covid-19 disrupted collegiate schedule. “It definitely feels great to play competitive golf again. I’m pretty fortunate to be able to come back to Liberty for my fifth year, as Covid-19 cut my fourth year season short.”

Ervin paid tribute to his Liberty Flames team-mates, not just for their excellent play but superb team spirit as well. “I get along with everyone on the team pretty well. I’ve known most of my teammates for a few years now and we know how to handle each other! I am closest to Kieran Vincent, as we came in the same year and he is someone I can go to all the time if I need help.”

Ervin was also a unanimous selection to the 2021 ASUN Men’s Golf All-Academic team for the third straight time, joining four other upperclassmen from four other conference institutions.

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