Arizona Sophomore Set for Stage with Professionals

Arizona Sophomore Set for Stage with Professionals

TUCSON, AZ

Sophomore Wanasa Zhou of the Arizona women's golf team has been granted an amateur exemption to compete in the Volvik Championship, held at Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, in Beaumont, Calif., Feb. 27-March 1.

The Volvik Championship is part of the Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA. The Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. For an amateur, this is a great opportunity to get a sense of what it's like to play at the professional level.

“It's special for me because my goal is to eventually play professionally,” said Zhou. “Just being able to experience a side of it is really exciting for me.”

Zhou graduated from Mesa Grande Academy in Calimesa, Calif. She spends her summer and winter breaks practicing with Henry Liaw, her swing coach and head golf professional of Morongo Golf Club. Liaw, a University of Arizona alumnus with an impressive junior and collegiate golf resume, played a large role in the selection of Zhou.

“The tour mentioned that there was a spot available for one female golfer and Wanasa was the best player we knew of that wasn't already in the tournament,” says Liaw. “Picking Wanasa was easy, just because she's such a good athlete and a good person.”

As a freshman, Zhou earned two top-10 finishes and three top-20 finishes in nine events. As an amateur, she finished fifth at the 2013 Kraft Nabisco Junior Challenge and second at the 2012 SCPGA Desert Tournament.

The Volvik Championship features a 120-player field, containing some of the best players in the country. For Zhou, heading back to this part of California is particularly special.

“Back at Beaumont, I have friends and my American family who have all been really supportive of my golf career,” said Zhou. “It means a lot to me to be able to compete at my home course and to have a lot of support from my coaches, friends and family.”

Wanasa will also have support from her coaches, friends, and family back in Tucson.

“Wanasa is such a hard worker and a pleasure to coach,” said Arizona assistant coach Derek Radley. “I really couldn't ask for more from a student-athlete. We are so excited for Wanasa that she has received this opportunity. We know she will make herself and the University of Arizona proud.”

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