Faith Vui wrote herself into the history books last weekend when she became the first Samoan to win the New Zealand Women’s Amateur Golf championships.
Family, friends and supporters staged a welcome home for Faith Vui at Faleolo International Airport on Thursday afternoon with banners and proud cheers led by her Mom, Grandma and Aunties.
Faith could just be seen behind the mountain of leis adorned on her by her cousins, family and friends at the airport.
The 18-year-old beat New Zealand’s Teresa Wang, Sumin Kang, Suwanna McPhee, and Chloe Lam to get to the final. The Samoan local proved she was up to the challenge when she won the 36-hole final at Hamilton Golf Club’s St Andrews Course 5&3 over Pupuke’s Amy Im.
By her side for every hit at Hamilton Golf Course was her father Gary Vui — who is also her coach and caddy. Gary Vui is a well-known business man and Managing Director of Nonu Samoa Enterprises.
Faith says she stayed focused, knowing she was “there for a reason” and approached the tournament with patience – one opponent at a time.
“I kept telling myself ‘one shot at a time. One person at a time’. In golf, anything can happen, right!”.
Faith Vui dreams of turning pro and becoming the first Samoan to compete on the biggest stage for women’s golf, the LPGA.
“Coming from Samoa where we only have two golf courses… it just gives me a lot of hope that I can achieve big things, it just takes a lot of work and a lot of time,” she said.
Faith is the youngest of seven and first picked up a golf club at three. In her junior years she would caddy for her dad who is a keen player and at 10 she started to play properly.
By 13 she and her two older brothers Lio and Niko started homeschooling, so they could focus on their game.
Faith’s mom Almyra Mosi Sutherland Vui says it took a bit of convincing for her to agree, wanting them to stay in school.
The Royal Samoa Golf Club is just five minutes from their home in Apia, and the Vuis spend between six and eight hours a day, six days a week out on the fairways, mostly at the Royal Samoa Country Club at Fagalii.
“Sundays are for the lord and family,” says Faith.
As the youngest in a family of golfers, Faith says there’s nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry and shared dreams to keep them accountable and motivated.
She jokes that she is better than her older brothers now.
“There’s still an off chance they can beat me,” she jokes.
Next stop – Faith and her brother Lio will be representing Samoa at the Pacific Games in Solomon Islands, departing with Team Samoa in the coming week.
During a special ceremony for Team Samoa heading to the Solomon Islands, Deputy Prime Minister Hon Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio said the incredible success story of 18-year-old Faith Vui is a source of inspiration for athletes as they prepare for the Pacific Games.