Athletics: Spring 2018
Author: John Wykoff
Posted: May 26, 2018

She brought her long game

FRESHMAN GOLFER Windy Huang is becoming a standout player with an interesting backstory. Just six months into her first season as a Viking—and still new to the United States—she tied the school record, shooting a five-under par 67 at an invitational.

Huang is a Taiwan native who started playing at age 10. She gave up a budding career as a gymnast to play golf, an expensive game in Taipei, so expensive that she spent most of her time on a driving range. That changed during her junior year in high school, when she auditioned to qualify for membership at the Taipei Golf Club, one of the best public courses on Taiwan. Even without extensive on-course experience, she qualified and represented the club at tournaments throughout Asia.

She had also decided at an early age to attend college in the United States. In Taiwan, serious athletes go to an athletics university, says Huang, where academics aren’t as important. She wanted both.

ON A TRIP to the U.S. to explore universities, she ended up playing at the College Golf Combine, a tournament in California for potential college players.

And, that’s where she came to the attention of PSU golf coach Kailin Downs.

“She had a full swing in the long game and was really accurate (not surprising given her time at the driving range),” says Downs.

Huang chose PSU after a campus visit.

“I like being downtown, and I really liked the coach,” she says. “I didn’t know there’d be people from so many different countries and I like that,” Huang adds.

Huang has also taken to the weather and trees in Oregon and saw snow for the first time on a team trip to Mt. Hood.

“She’s fun, easy going and has really embraced the culture here,” says Downs.

On the course, Huang needed to improve her short game. And, she’s already done that, says Downs, knocking nearly four strokes off her fall average. At the Big Sky Conference Championship in April, she tied for 15th in a 60-player field.

It all adds up to fulfilling another dream Huang has had since age 10: playing in the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.

–from a longer article written by John Wykoff ’65, a feature writer for PSU Athletics.