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FROM caddying at the age of 12 to being one of the best amateur golfers in Papua New Guinea vying for a medal at the 2015 Pacific Games, Soti Dinki has set himself the goal of not coming away from the once-in-a-life-time experience empty-handed.
The 27-year-old competitor of mixed Chimbu and Morobe parentage has learned his game on the the fairways of the Royal Port Moresby Golf course and it is here he hopes to conquer the Pacific in July.
Dinki became involved in the sport at the age of 10 while accompanying his father who was a cleaner at the club house and course in 1998.
After two years of walking the fairways and watching the weekend golfers playing, Dinki became a regular caddie for the club members and from there he began his education in all things golf.
Dinki proved his commitment to the sport by caddying for the next nine years while completing his primary and secondary education.
He was picked by Gumine MP Nick Kuman as a ninth grader at Gerehu Secondary School in 2009 to caddie at his ever golf tournament representing the FM Bomai team at the charity Daffodil Challenge but as luck would have it a vacancy in the team saw the teenager slotted into the team.
Dinki said having spent most of his childhood day on the golf field he learned a lot of the nuances of the sport from observation.
“I was supposed to be the caddie for the team but I got to play because one of the players couldn’t make it to the course that day,” Dinki said.
“We won the challenge and Mr Kuman said he thought I had potential so he sponsored me to be a full time golfer,” Dinki said.
“I started playing seriously that year after that and made progress and was lucky enough to win the national amateur title the next year in Lae.”
“I also won the Morobe Open amateur title the same year with a handicap of 4.”
Dinki then competed at his first international tournament, the Asian Amateur Championship in Japan in 2010 where he missed the cut by one shot.
He competed at the last Pacific Games in New Caledonia but did not win a medal which is something he is hoping to do at the home Games.
Dinki has the form to be a contender for a medal having won the PNG Open amateur title last month and finishing second at the Morobe Open amateur event and third at the national titles earlier this year.
Perhaps Dinki’s biggest advantage over the competitors is that he knows every inch of the Port
Moresby course and will use that home turf knowledge to snare a gold medal.