The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

On The Rise, Peicheng Chen Prepares for the Big East Golf Championship

The budding star discusses preparation, seniors and heading into this weekend’s final tournament.
Photo Courtesy / St. John’s Athletics

After an up-and-down freshman season, sophomore Peicheng Chen has adjusted to the student-athlete life and is developing into a force on the golf course. This couldn’t come at a better time for Chen or the Red Storm, as the Big East Championship is right around the corner. 

Despite living in Beijing, China for the first 18 years of his life, Chen was no stranger to New York when he began his collegiate career. 

“I actually traveled to the United States a lot because I would always go to Long Island for swing lessons. Ever since I was 12, I would go for two months every summer.”

These yearly trips gave Chen enough exposure for former St. John’s Men’s Golf head coach Mal Galetta to offer him a spot on the team. His freshman season presented some challenges due to juggling academics and golf, as well as not having reliable transportation. 

“I remember it was very hard to catch up with schoolwork and also try to get on the course for tournaments,” Chen said. “It was also hard because I didn’t have a car, so on the weekends I was basically stuck at school. Now that I have a car, I can visit my swing coach on the weekends.”

Fast forward two years, and not only does he now have adequate transportation, but he is also beginning to take over in the Big East. 

Chen dominated the month of April. At the Southern Invitational in Florida, which took place April 3-4, he captured the individual title, finishing 10 under par. Most recently from April 17-18 at the Mountaineer invitational in West Virginia, Chen finished 11th individually while leading all participants in birdies. The Red Storm would go on to finish second at the Southern Invitational and seventh at the Mountaineer invitational. 

With golf being such a mental game, Chen’s preparation heading into the Big East Championship will be crucial.

“I’ve been through countless tournaments. Once you get used to it, your mind will absolutely change,” he said. 

For Chen, performing well in the Big East Championship could help launch his professional golf career. Keegan Bradley, a 2008 St. John’s alumni made a name for himself after a very strong performance at the Championship during his sophomore season, helping the team finish sixth overall. He continued this impact, helping the Red Storm place as high as third in the Championship in his remaining time as a Johnnie. Bradley is currently ranked as the 22nd best professional golfer in the world, per the Official World Golf Ranking. 

This presents Chen with a major opportunity. Not only would a strong performance help send off the seniors with a storybook ending, but it could also serve as a foundation for one of the top players in the Big East to build on as he looks towards a professional career.

“We have six seniors on the team. We want to give a great ending to those guys.”

The Big East Championship gets underway Friday at 8 a.m. in Hardeeville, South Carolina.

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Kyler Fox, Asst. Sports Editor
Kyler is a junior journalism student serving as an Assistant Sports Editor. Outside of The Torch, Kyler is a contributor for both A Daly Dose of Hoops and Last Word on Sports. When he isn’t writing, you can either find him keeping up with his favorite sports teams or checking out the latest sneaker drops.

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