She’s a self-described homebody, except when it comes to competition. Then Katie Yoo lets her game do the talking.
“I want to play against the top players in the world,” said Yoo.
The 20-year-old finished in a tie for 41st at the 2021 LPGA Q-Series to first earn LPGA Tour membership as a 2022 rookie. She has split time between the mothership and Epson Tour this season.
Born in the Republic of Korea, Yoo spent most of her childhood in Australia before her family moved to the greater Orlando area in 2010. She now resides in Denton, Texas, so the United States is really what Yoo knows. But old memories pop up from time to time.
“I remember seeing a lot of kangaroos in front of the preschool I attended,” Yoo said with a smile.
In her fourth year on the “Road to the LPGA,” Yoo is still among the youngest players on Tour. She has developed a wealth of experience since going through the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at 16 years old.
“I wasn’t actually planning on turning pro [at 17], I was leaning more toward college first. But the spring of 2018, the LPGA changed the age limit to where you could start Q-School at 16,” said Yoo, referring to the decision to alter age requirements so that a player could compete for Epson Tour membership only at Stage I and Stage II provided they turn 17 by the end of the calendar year.
“We thought, ‘Why not try and see how it goes?’ I was pretty lucky to get through.” Yoo’s experience stems from learning a great deal on the golf course in her time as a pro.
“Just play my own game,” she said. “I like to practice solo. I focus on my game and doing my best.”
Some lessons also come from those top players in the world she strives to walk the fairways with every week. The collection of knowledge though has developed one objective seared into her daily walk.
“I really like Hyo Joo Kim,” said Yoo. “I really love her swing. I like how she manages to play her game.
“This year, I want to finish top 80 and stay on the LPGA. That’s the focus.”
That push continues this week at the Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship, where Yoo secured her career-best result of a tie for eighth in 2020. Yoo heads off No. 10 tee at 9:09 a.m. ET tomorrow.