Hou, a sophomore* from Taiwan, leaped to the No. 1 spot in the rankings after earning a top-10 finish on the LPGA Tour’s YICHEN Future Open last weekend.
Hou competed for the Arizona Wildcats last season, placing second in three events and winning Pac-12 Golfer of the Month twice. Hou was also named the Women’s Golf Coaches Association Freshman of the Year.
Hou’s older sister, Yu-Sang, a senior at Arizona and member of the 2017-2018 national title team, is ranked the No. 43 amateur golfer in the world.
Ya Chun Chang, a junior from Taiwan, is ranked No. 53 in the world. Chang moved up 20 spots in the latest poll, the second biggest leap among the top 100 amateurs.
Senior Hollie Muse and sophomores Kailie Vongsaga and Gile Bite Starkute are also in the top 300 amateur golfers.
While there’s no question Arizona’s roster is loaded, plenty of uncertainty exists surrounding when they’ll get to play together as a team.
It’s unlikely Arizona will compete any time earlier than February, which is when college golf’s spring schedule tees off in earnest. The Wildcats and their Pac-12 cohort may be at a disadvantage to other conferences like the SEC, which is allowing teams to play this fall.
When Arizona does get around to playing golf, the Wildcats should be at full strength.
Arizona Daily Star sports columnist Greg Hansen wrote in his Sunday notebook last month that Wildcats head coach Laura Ianello said the Hou sisters and Chang plan to return to Tucson in January after completing this semester at home in Taiwan. The rest of the team is already in Tucson practicing together.
With a complete roster, Arizona would be one of the favorites to compete for a national title. And to Arizona’s advantage, the NCAA golf tournament will be held at Scottsdale’s Grayhawk Golf Club.
*golfers were granted an extra year of eligibility, but we are classifying Hou and the rest of UA’s golfers by their academic year to avoid any confusion.