By BRANDEE BRITT
IOWA CITY, Iowa — When University of Iowa women’s golfer Sophie Liu arrives on campus this August, she’ll have a full summer of high-level competition under her belt.
The incoming freshman notched a runner-up finish at the Florida State Golf Association’s 87th Women’s Amateur Championship, a match play tournament held at Bent Pine Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida, from June 16-19.
Liu clinched the final spot — the 32nd seed — via a six-way playoff. She rolled from there, defeating the No. 1, 5, 16, and 24 seeds before ultimately falling to third-seeded Emma Albrecht in the finals.
“I started kind of rough in stroke play and barely made it to match play,” said Liu, the 2015 Florida Today Golfer of the Year. “Once I made it to match play I persevered mentally. I believed that I had a shot. I focused on the fact that I could beat everyone because the tournament wasn’t dependent on my scores beforehand.
“I took every match as its own, did my best, and I was able to get to the finals. I mentally pushed my way through the entire tournament.”
Liu, the 2015 Florida State (3A) runner-up (-4; 140), guided Viera High School to a third-place finish at the state tournament. Liu was tied for first after 36 holes before being awarded second after a one-hole playoff.
The Vancouver, British Columbia, native was the 2015 Cape Coast Conference individual champion. She also owns school records for the lowest season average (72.0) and highest finish at a state competition (second).
As Liu’s move-in date inches closer, she plans to immerse herself in competitive settings to prepare for her Iowa debut.
She is scheduled to play in two Canadian tournaments in July and August. Liu will also compete for a qualifying spot in the US Women’s Amateur at the Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania, from Aug. 1-7.
“Any sort of competitive setting is helpful,” said Liu. “I know that college golf is going to be difficult. I’ll be competing with some of the best players in the country. Anytime I get the chance to compete with others, it will help my game going forward.”
Now, Liu plans to use her summer competitions to improve her swing and strengthen her mental game before joining the Hawkeyes this fall.
“I hope to get my swings relatively consistent before I come to campus,” Liu said. “I want to focus on my overall game, but I think my mental game is probably the most important part.”
With her summer preparation in full swing, Liu is eager to become a valuable contributor to a Hawkeye squad fresh off its best season in program history.
“I’m so excited to get to campus,” she said. “I chose Iowa because I love it there. I love the people and environment. It will be a great place for me to get an education and play collegiate golf.”