No one will ever forget the 2014 US Women’s Open press conference at Pinehurst.
I was 11 at the time, sitting in a chair, spinning around, eating ice cream and answering questions. And eight years later, I got my LPGA Tour card.
Being labeled a child prodigy in my career has not been easy to bear. I’ve been fighting myself and working hard to avoid burnout.
I was introduced to golf at the age of 7 when I went to the practice range with my mother to pick up my older brother, Luke. I hit the ball for the first time then and immediately fell in love with golf. I caught up with Luke pretty quickly and grew up quickly. I took classes online, but it was convenient because I could easily adjust my schedule. I didn’t feel like I sacrificed anything because I met a lot of friends through golf.
In the summer of her tenth year, she qualified for the US Women’s Amateur and Public Links Championships. In both competitions, I was the youngest player. Since he wasn’t even 150cm tall, he was 20 yards shorter than everyone else, but he was able to hit the ball straight. The closeness of the 3-wood was better than that of the wedge.
The following summer, he qualified for the Integral Drive, Chip & Putt. Growing up, my favorite golfer was Bobby Jones. I knew the importance of Augusta National and remember stepping on the perfect-looking greens and wondering if it was astro turf. I won my age group and then got to watch a practice round. The first thing I did was go to Amen Corner. Azaleas are much more beautiful when you see them in person.
That summer, she registered for the U.S. Women’s Open at Half Moon Bay. She hit 74-68. She won the heat by seven strokes in the heat, but it didn’t feel real. I was the youngest player ever to compete in the qualifiers. He missed the cut by hitting 78-78, but his dream of becoming a professional golfer felt more realistic than ever.
He received a call for an interview offer on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ program. His mother knew it was too much for an 11-year-old, so she refused several times. My parents always treated me as a person, not just a golfer.
All attention could not be avoided. People used to ask, “When are you going to be a pro?” But I had no plans. Around that time, I met Johnny Miller through friends in the Bay Area. He has been a great mentor. It made me realize that I didn’t have to become a pro right away just because I did a lot at the youngest age.
Another mentor, the late Mickey Wright, whom Johnny met through the USGA, showed a firm attitude of ‘don’t let anyone touch my swing’. I’ve met several coaches in the past, but being able to solve problems on your own is important. Watch the video when your swing is out of order. If I get really stuck, I’ll work it out with someone I trust, like Johnny, my parents, and Mickey before he passed away.
In 2019, looking at my schedule when I was 17, my heart was not thrilled. Then it was time for the next step. I became a pro and my parents believed in my decision. I was on the Epson Tour until 2020 and finished in the top 5 in 3 events. He got off to a good start in 2021, but missed the cut at five Epson Tour events. During the offseason, he focused on regaining his confidence. This is ironic, considering that looking back on my childhood, what I remember most vividly was how confident I was.
I asked myself why I play golf. I lost the answer to this question in the hard practice. I play because I love competing and getting better. I focused on this and results in 2022 and it worked. It was fun to play and it resulted in my first pro win. He took a birdie on the 18th hole and took the game to overtime, and caught an eagle on the first hole of the overtime. A few weeks later he recorded another win on the Epson Tour.
I felt my confidence rise. My place on the Epson Tour money rankings earned me an LPGA card and I started playing in LPGA Tour events early on. I was in the last group on Sunday at the Dana Open and played well. But that experience made me love competing in LPGA events even more.크크크벳
Taking online classes at Pennsylvania State University has been a big part of balancing, but it’s helped me throughout last season. Even if I missed a 1.2m putt and ended the round, I couldn’t chew it over and over again in my head. I used to have to turn in my assignments in 3 hours. I plan to major in data analysis and psychology. Right now I’m focusing on my golf career, but one day I’d like to use my degree in technology, climate change, or venture capital.
I am looking forward to participating in more international matches, especially in Asia. My goal is to be selected for the Solheim Cup, but I know how difficult it is. When I was young, I was very confident. If I lose my confidence, I will go back to how I felt then.