Danny Nguyen, a freshman, has appeared in more Temple University golf tournaments this season than most seniors on the team.
Nguyen’s skill dates back to when he was 11 years old, the first time he began playing golf in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. He watched his father play and sometimes hit balls for fun. Over time, he started taking the game seriously.
Nguyen came to school in America when he was 14, attending all four years of high school at Windermere Preparatory School in Windermere, Florida. In 2017, Nguyen was the Vietnam Amateur champion and the Ho Tram Junior Open champion. This afforded him the opportunity to join the Vietnam National Team.
The following year, he played in the Asia Pacific Amateur tournament and helped Windermere win the Florida State Class 1A state championship in his senior year. Nguyen recorded an 80.5 stroke average in two rounds.
It was a big change for Nguyen to come to Florida from Vietnam, except when it came to playing golf. He then had to adjust to Philadelphia’s layout when he came to Temple, he said.
For Nguyen, being part of those tournaments was a great opportunity to learn the game.
“It all felt like a new step to my golf career,” Nguyen said. “It helped me learn how to be able to play golf not only as an individual but as a team, which is what I’m doing here at Temple.”
Nguyen liked Temple’s golf program and Main Campus after visiting in his senior year.
He kept in contact with assistant coach Matt Teesdale throughout his senior year, in the hopes of playing for the Owls.
Teesdale liked how direct of an impact Nguyen made the second he stepped on the course this season, he said.
“He fit right in,” Teesdale said. “He’s pretty upbeat on the golf course, which is nice as a freshman.”
At Temple, his experiences have made him a better decision-maker and calmer under pressure, he said.
It shows in his play this season. He has a stroke average of 76.25 and has played all five tournaments. Four Temple golfers appeared in three or fewer tournaments during the Fall 2019 season and ended with higher average scores.
The goal of the coaching staff is to minimize any mental mistakes Nguyen makes, Teesdale said.
“We want these kids to be able to shoot numbers when they’re not hitting it good,” Teesdale said. “They can come off the course and say, ‘I hit it like crap today, but I still managed to shoot 72,’ that’s the end goal.”
Nguyen tied with Owls junior Dawson Anders on the scorecard at the Phoenix Invitational on Oct. 14 and 15 in Burlington, North Carolina. He shot 74 in each round for a total of 222 at the tournament.
Nguyen’s best single round was the third round of the Firestone Invitational on Oct. 1 in Akron, Ohio. He shot 72, the same score Anders made that round.
“Coming in as a freshman, we needed someone to step up,” Teesdale said. “Him being the five guy for our team, he definitely did his job this year.”
Teesdale saw the amount of “bounceback” Nguyen had in him, which is the best quality there is in golf, he said.
Nguyen has made a close bond with Anders, the team’s captain, Nguyen said.
As the captain, Anders taught freshman Graham Chase and Nguyen how to play smart and efficiently, Anders said. Those lessons were handed down from coach Brian Quinn, who taught Anders those things his freshman year.
“[Nguyen is] definitely just always positive out on the course,” Anders added. “You can never tell if he’s shooting 68 or 78 because he’s always in a good mood.”