Jessica Yuen finds early success at Missouri, continues to build golfing legacy

“I put more pressure on myself, but my mental game has improved, and I can handle it,” Yuen said of her sophomore campaign for Missouri.
Jessica Yuen competes during the 2017 spring season. Courtesy of MU Athletics. MU Athletics

Making a name for oneself and becoming the leader of a sports team, especially at the collegiate level, usually takes athletes time and experience to achieve. Women’s golfer Jessica Yuen, however, has managed to rise to her position in a short amount of time.

Only a sophomore, Yuen has already become one of the more decorated golfers in recent Mizzou history.

As a freshman, she not only set the freshman record for lowest stroke average, which also happened to be the second-lowest for a season in school history, but also made the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team and competed at the NCAA Regionals as an individual.

Despite her obvious gift for the game of golf, it wasn’t always Yuen’s first choice for a sport.

“I started playing when I was 6 years old,” Yuen said, “but then I stopped for a while and played basketball. I didn’t pick it up again until I was 12 or 13.”

From then on, success is all that Yuen had known. In high school, she won two state titles while finishing in second twice.

“I felt like I could play at the next level during my junior year,” Yuen said. “I felt like I had the mentality.”

Regardless of talent, Yuen said she still had to prove her worth.

“When I came in, I still had to show the coaches I was good enough,” Yuen said. “I had to earn my spot in the lineup.”

Yuen quickly established herself as one of the best on the team. She capped off her freshman year by going on to the NCAA Regionals, but she was more focused on going as a team her sophomore year.

“It was lonely to go alone,” Yuen said, “but my team’s support meant a lot.”

Coming off such a feat means the expectations for Yuen have been high. Everything she learned from her freshman season, however, has helped prepare her for this.

“There was more pressure this year knowing that I’ve done well,” Yuen said. “I put more pressure on myself, but my mental game has improved, and I can handle it.”

Even with the pressure she faces, Yuen is still focused on what the team can accomplish. But she still expects more from herself.

“I could’ve done better with a stronger mindset,” Yuen said. “The pressure made it harder on myself. One thing I still want to accomplish is winning a collegiate tournament.”

High expectations aside, one thing Yuen hasn’t forgotten is her enjoyment of the game. She hopes to carry this throughout her career.

“My favorite part of my career so far has been being able to play on different courses around the country against different people from around the world,” Yuen said. “It’s something that I wouldn’t be able to do if I wasn’t playing.”

Yuen and the Tigers will compete in the SEC championships from April 18-22.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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