Alumni Report: Muni He on the fast track to LPGA dreams
Ever wonder what happens to top amateurs after they pass through the web pages of AmateurGolf.com? Welcome to our new series, the Alumni Report. Each week, we’ll profile a former AmateurGolf.com member now navigating the pro waters, providing a progress report and a snapshot of his or her amateur career.
Muni He (USC Athletics photo)
hasn’t yet reached her 20th birthday. She has almost reached her one-year anniversary as a professional.
He, born in Chengdu, China but raised in San Diego, has always been the kind of player who is a step ahead of her peers. He picked up the game at age 6 and was soon testing herself against Southern California’s top juniors – as well as top juniors worldwide that would seek out the tough competition in He’s backyard. She spent two and a half years at Torrey Pines High School before finishing her diploma through home schooling. She knew as a freshman that she wanted to go to USC, and she ended up there a semester early in the spring of 2017.
It’s almost as if she lives her golf life in fast forward.
Though He’s career at USC was short-lived – she ultimately stayed only two semesters – she easily left her mark. He won the first start of her sophomore year at the Minnesota Invitational. Her final act as a Trojan was an adrenaline-filled match-play showdown with Stanford’s Andrea Lee in the East Lake Cup championship match. He rallied to take a point off Lee and help USC secure the victory.
Even as He and
junior teammate Robynn Ree stepped away at the conclusion of LPGA Q-School last year, He expressed feelings that it was bittersweet. This is perhaps the most interesting part of her story – that at 18, she felt like she could wait no longer to turn professional.
“Nowadays, in women’s golf, you’re getting all these girls who are younger and younger,” He told writer Judd Spicer in an article for the Southern California Golf Association’s Fore magazine
, “and I just felt that if I waited another three years, I would’ve been late.”
Related: When college and pro golf collide
Before she turned pro, He had several prominent experiences on the big stage. She was one of four amateurs who made the cut in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, and played the Blue Bay LPGA tournament in China that same year.
She went through LPGA Q-School a year before changes to the format increased the number of rounds in the final stage (which became “Q-Series”). The LPGA’s idea was to put a premium on consistency and guide newer players toward the Symetra Tour.
Ultimately that was He’s path after she missed the cut at the final stage of 2017 LPGA Q-School. She still decided to turn pro and accepted a sponsor exemption into the Ladies European Tour’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in December 2017. After missing the cut at that event the previous year as an amateur, He finished T-28.
He teed it up 21 times on the Symetra Tour in 2018, effectively every
time. She missed only five cuts, won once (at the Prasco Charity Championship in Cincinnati, Ohio) and banked $37,531.
This week, He is in the LPGA’s Q-Series field, and through six of the eight rounds, is in position to earn her card. A player must finish inside the top 45 and ties to do that, and He lurks around the top 25.
There’s one other thing that He excels in, and that’s social media. He’s Instagram following has swelled to 160,000 followers, which is ultimately a plus for the LPGA.
And she’s only getting started.