Siyun Liu plans to turn professional after completing her senior season at Wake Forest this spring. Where she plays is turning into an interesting proposition.
Liu, 19, is competing at the PGA Tour Series China qualifying tournament this week. At the halfway point, she is in position—thanks to consecutive 75s— to capture fully-exempt status on the China circuit next season. Should she do so, Liu would become the first woman in history to earn status of any kind on a PGA Tour-sanctioned circuit.
"I had a rough start and finish, but overall it was a pretty good day,'' said Liu after her second 75. "I made a chip-in for birdie and also made a couple good birdies after I made the turn."
Liu is currently in 19th place at Foison Golf Club in Guangzhou, China. The top 15 players at the event will earn cards on the China Series, with the top 45 receiving conditional status. The China Series is considered one of the PGA Tour's developmental leagues, with the top five players at the end of the season getting promotion to the Korn Ferry Tour.
"Honestly, it’s not as different as I thought,” said Liu after Round 1. “Everyone hits it so much farther than I do, that’s for sure, and I expected that, but I’m just more playing my own game because I know that everyone else if kind of playing a different golf course than I am doing. It helps me relax.”
Liu had three top-six finishes in five starts for the Demon Deacons in the fall, and was a member of the team's runner-up finish in last year's NCAA Championship. No matter how the China qualifying tournament shakes out, Liu is planning to return to Wake in hopes of winning a NCAA title. She also is scheduled to travel to China this summer for a handful of women's events.
That itinerary may change, however, depending on what transpires the next two days.
“If I do end up getting some status here, then I’ll definitely come back and play,” Liu said. "If I get to play any event here, I would be so down for it.”
UPDATE: Jan. 9, 9:11 a.m. — Unfortunately, Liu's endeavor will have to wait another season, as she dropped out of the tournament due to arm pain.