Pam Kuong was a girls’ soccer and softball captain at Wellesley High, and went on to become a three-sport standout at Ohio Wesleyan University. Twenty years ago, she played her first 18-hole round of golf, shooting a respectable 98 at the Woodland Golf Club in Newton.
Times, and her scores, have definitely changed.
On Saturday, the 54-year-old Kuong will begin play in her fifth USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at Hillwood Country Club in Nashville.
A senior vice president at Bank of America, Kuong was a sectional medalist, carding a 75 at Framingham Country Club on Sept. 1.
“I only started playing golf because people told me it would be valuable in my work relationships with new and existing clients,’’ said Kuong, who won her eighth women’s club championship in July at Charles River Country Club, where she has been a member since 2007.
“Joining Charles River introduced me to competitive amateur golf. I played with so many top players there that my game just got better,’’ she said, “and our members have encouraged me along the way.’’
Skip Guss, who teaches at the Southborough Golf Practice & Learning Center, has worked with Kuong during the past 10 years in fine-tuning her game.
Kuong won the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur title in 2008 and 2010; the 2011 New England Women’s Amateur and the New England Senior Women’s Amateur from 2011 to 2013; in 2012, she was the WGAM’s Player of the Year.
She has also qualified for 16 USGA events, and her lowest score, 70, has whetted her appetite to “break that magic barrier.’’
A 1979 graduate of Wellesley High, where she was also a distance swimmer on the girls’ varsity, Kuong set program swimming records in high school and college that have been eclipsed.
Kuong coached swimming for more than 30 years, including stints at Wellesley High, the Wellesley Swimming Association, and Bernal’s Gator Swim Club.
“Coaching has helped me achieve in golf because I have applied the mental training methods I taught to my swimmers to my game,’’ said Kuong, who utilizes visualization and relaxation techniques on the course.
An economics major with a concentration in management, Kuong graduated from college in 1983. She received her MBA from Babson in 1987, the same year she began her career with Bank of America.
A 1-handicap, Kuong celebrated her first — and only — hole-in-one three years ago at the International in Bolton while playing with clients.
“Two of them had never seen a hole-in-one. It was pretty neat because they were more excited than I was,’’ recalled Kuong, who advanced to the round of 16 at the USGA Women’s Senior Amateur two years ago at Cordevalle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif.
En route, she upset World Golf Hall of Famer Carol Semple Thompson, 2 and 1, in the first round, which she considers her finest golf moment.
Kuong played this month in the USGA State Team Tournament at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo., helping the Massachusetts contingent finish fourth among 51 teams.
“It put me in a positive frame of mind at just the right time,’’ said Kuong.
Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org