All the best, Big Mal tells Sophia

Normal, Sports

The National, Monday 29th April 2013


KUMULS coaching director Mal Meninga gave his best wishes to champion women’s golfer Sophia Cragnolini on her title defence in the upcoming South Pacific Export PNG Open golf championship in Port Moresby.

The May 3-9 event has attracted 60 professional from Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Korea.

Winning the tournament is easy but defending the title will be a mammoth task for the 17-year-old part-Chinese and Italian who slipped into the country quietly.

Meninga, who was on the same flight as Sophia, had the opportunity to chat with the local champion women’s golfer at the arrival lounge at Jackson International Airport.

“I wish you all the best in your title defence,” Meninga said before being whisked off to the Gateway Hotel with the Team Kumul high performance coaching team. The coaching team is here for the second Team Kumul camp in Goroka.

Sophia met Meninga for the first time in Port Moresby yesterday. When told she had a photo opportunity with Meninga, she said: “wow … I don’t know him but am happy to take a photo with the former Australian Kangaroo captain.”  Sophia became the youngest player to win the PNG Open women’s title last year at age 16. 

A year older, she is determined to defend her title. 

Apart from the PNG Open, she won the Hill International Academic championship last year. 

She represented PNG at the 2011 Greg Norman Junior Masters and Australia at the 2012 Jakarta World Junior Championship, is a member of the high performance team at the Hill International Golf Academy, in Gold Coast, Australia.