Muyu Wu transitions from China and becomes Gophers’ top golfer in the spring

Wu leads the women’s golf team in scoring average.

Sophomore Muyu Wu plays at the fourth annual Minnesota Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 at the Minikahda Club.

Chelsea Gortmaker, Daily File Photo

Sophomore Muyu Wu plays at the fourth annual Minnesota Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 at the Minikahda Club.

Max Biegert

In China, Muyu Wu sent out emails to coaches across the Big Ten that contained her scores and her swing in hopes of playing college golf. Her talent caught the eye of Minnesota head coach Michele Redman. 

The issue was that Wu’s father wanted beautiful weather to golf in and initially thought Wu should look elsewhere. However, she felt an instant connection with Redman, and that if she wanted to go pro like her head coach, Redman could give her the best option.

“I thought Redman could give me more of that experience to help me grow,” Wu said. “I believed that it was possible for us to do well and that is really why I came.”

Initially, Wu didn’t think golf was going to be part of her life. Her dad was a big fan, but when she first put clubs in her hands at age 7, she quickly put them back down because she didn’t like it. Seven years later, however, she began golfing again with her dad and his friends. At age 14, she said she shot a 74 and changed her mind about the sport. 

Soon enough, she began playing in junior events. She ended up first at the 2013 HSC China Junior Final Championship to qualify for a Chinese LPGA tour event where she finished 14th. Playing in that tournament was one of the more nervous times in her life. Yet she also said it was some of the most fun she had in her life. 

“Playing in those tournaments helped me build my confidence because I could see I could compete with professional golfers and that was fun,” Wu said. 

When Wu came to Minnesota her freshman year, she had a hard time adjusting to being away from home. Between the language and different food, she just wasn’t used to the culture yet. Even though she started learning English in first grade, she felt nervous talking in English. She said she struggled her first semester because homework would take her a little longer. 

Now in her third year, Wu said she is getting used to the American culture, with the only differences between the two countries being the food and language. 

“She is a great students for one things and does a great job of being balanced which means she spends a lot of time with her teammates, but also with her friends from China and that has helped her a lot,” Redman said. 

Wu has already left a mark on the Gophers program through the first three years of her career. In her freshman year, she went on to set the freshman average scoring record for the season, shooting 75.75 in 24 total rounds and eight tournaments. 

Wu said she didn’t even know she broke that record until her coach told her. She said she likes to focus on the next shot and tries not to pay attention to where she is at until after the round. 

Through seven tournaments this season, she leads the team in scoring average with 75.53, including three top-20 finishes. 

“She is a great friend and leader for our freshman. We have four freshman and the way she goes about her work is something they can take after her,” sophomore Christine Portillo said. “She works hard and the team counts on her to have a good score.”