Yan Liu, Epson Tour Graduate, made 17 cuts in 21 starts on the Epson Tour in 2022, recording four top-10 finishes to earn membership for the 2023 LPGA Tour Season. In addition, she picked up her first career Epson Tour victory at the Four Winds Invitational.
Since I was 11 years old, all I wanted to do was play golf. I was in love with being on the green, taking on each course, and getting better drive after drive.
Now that I've punched my LPGA Tour card, I'll get the chance to do this on the biggest stage.
I have so many people to thank. But when I think of the hard work and ups-and-downs I've gone through my coach is the first person who comes to mind.
I wouldn't have the career I have if it wasn't for my coach. Golf is such a personal battle. You're out there alone, taking on the course and the competition all by yourself.
There are no teammates to help you out when things aren't going well. So, every moment that you have to discuss the game with someone else is valuable. Whether it's other golfers, coaches, or even self-reflection, you need to parse out how things are going and how you can improve.
My coach was the best person for me to go to before and after tournaments. He not only gave me excellent guidance and tips on ways to improve, but he also gave me self-confidence.
I'm a generally shy person. He was able to show me how I could be expressive and outgoing on the course.
Golf is a mental game. My coach helped make that aspect one of my strengths.
I've been with my coach since I was a young girl and he helped cultivate my interest in the sport. The more he taught me, the more I wanted to learn, and the more I asked questions, the more he answered them.
It was a cycle of learning and asking that snowballed into my career as a professional golfer.
I'm eternally grateful to have had him by my side since day one.
I knew becoming a pro would be tough, but I had no idea about the challenges along the way. At 19, I went pro and took my talents to Europe to compete on the Ladies European Tour.
While I was thrilled to be taking on this test, I wasn't ready for it.
The competition was tough and taking care of all the aspects of being a professional athlete was a lot. The travel, training, watching your diet — it's a 24/7 job. I was pretty much on my own in a new environment.
It was too much. I decided the best thing for myself and my career was to return to China.
The decision wasn't easy. Some could say it was a step back or showed that I wasn't ready and maybe would never be prepared. But I had the confidence and courage to know I was taking a step back to take a step forward.
On the China LPGA Tour, I found comfort and success. I was back home and got my first professional win in Hong Kong in 2019. It felt so good to know I made the right decision and was being rewarded for my efforts.
After my time in China, though, it was time to make another leap. I decided to explore The Epson Tour.
Unlike my time in Europe, I was ready now.
Prepared to become an LPGA Tour golfer I had always dreamed of being, all I had to do was make the top ten on the money list.
This season, it came down to the final tournament for me.
The final test
The pressure of knowing I had to have a high-level performance at the season's final competition was immense.
Remember what I said about golf being a mental game? This was the biggest test. All the years and all the ups and downs prepared me for it.
Yes, I was nervous. The situation was stressful, but my hand was steady.
Overcoming mental challenges doesn't mean you don't have them; you thrive despite them.
You learn to work through them and get the job done.
And on that day, I got it done.
I qualified for the LPGA Tour and completed a journey that was years in the making.
When you add up the wins and the losses, I won. I was victorious because I never quit, and I just kept going.
Whether the last day was good or bad, I focused on improving the next day.
Preparing for the next level
How do you prepare for something you've never done?
That's a question I keep asking myself ever since earning my LPGA status. My strategy so far is to be a sponge and absorb everything I can from all the LPGA Tour professionals.
Yes, we are competing against each other, but they have the knowledge that I don't, and I can learn a lot from those around me.
There's so much to get used to. I can't wait.
See you soon, LPGA Tour.