The Arizona women's golf sensation that almost didn’t happen
University of Arizona women’s golf has been garnering quite the buzz over the last 10 months. Besides the fact Arizona stepped into the season as the defending national champions, three women have been invited to compete in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. The list includes Yu-Sang Hou, Haley Moore and Vivian Hou, Yu-Sang’s sister.
Yu-Sang in particular is elevating her level of play this season and is starting to catch the eyes of many across collegiate women’s golf. The sophomore already won the Pac-12 Preview in November and finished second overall in the Northrop-Grumman Challenge in Los Angeles in early February.
But the latest star of the women’s golf team almost never set foot in Tucson.
Yu-Sang, a native of Taipei, Taiwan, initially had the intent go pro straight out of Heping High School in Taipei City. But after coming to a summer tournament in the United States in 2017, which introduced her to head coach Laura Ianello, it changed her thinking.
After the tournament, coach Ianello continued to reach out to recruit her to Arizona. Slowly, she decided to warm up to the idea of being a Wildcat and committed right before that fall semester.
Along with the Augusta National Women’s Amateur invite, Hou was also included in the first spring Arnold Palmer Cup Rankings Top 25, highlighting the incredible start of the season and the resume she is building.
Her golf journey started at the age of 9. Her parents supported her passion, with her father being one of her swing coaches and helping her learn the game, but she said nobody had a bigger impact on her game and her life than her sister, who will be an incoming freshman next semester.
“My sister is not only a big part of my life in golf, and to this day she is the only person in this planet who can make me laugh if I’m mad,” Hou said.
Hou, less than halfway done with her time as a UA women’s golfer, has only been with the program for a year-and-a-half but says the experience thus far has been “very fun and taught her a lot about herself.”
“Yu-Sang was a great addition to our golf program,” teammate Desiree Hong said. “She is an all around fantastic player, person and friend. She has certainly gotten comfortable with the team in the last year and a half since she has joined the team. I have noticed Yu-Sang grow into a leader.”
Even after a short time around the team, Hou expressed she feels a togetherness with the team that makes every day here enjoyable.
“I love the team chemistry; it’s just fun. Everybody is theirselves. We’re all really different, but they can make a bad day good and a good day even better,” she said.
Even during the offseason and being away from her teammates, Hou made it a priority to keep in touch with her teammates. Despite all the accolades and career earnings, Hou described the invite to the Inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur invite as a career highlight.
“I think I got invited, really, the last few spots, and I was almost ready to give up getting invited to Augusta, but I got a call in the afternoon ... My reaction was ‘No way,’ and I thought it was a prank at first,” Hou said with a laugh.
With her invitation to Augusta, Hou doesn’t plan to stop striving for more anytime soon. She said she hopes to add more tournament wins and bring another national championship back to Tucson. Hou also said she aspires to finish the season ranked as a top-five collegiate player, which could get her an invite to play for the LPGA qualifier.
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