Georgia’s Jo Hua Hung will begin competition at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco on Thursday. A rising senior for the Bulldogs, Hung is among 156 golfers who have qualified to compete on the par-71, 6,486-yard layout.
“I don’t have a word to describe how I feel to be here and play,” Hung said. “I’m really grateful to compete with the greatest players in the world. Not everyone gets the chance to play in a tournament like this. I’ve been working hard to get ready. The course is tough, but it’s doable if I keep focused on every shot. I think it will be a great experience.”
Hung played her final practice round on Wednesday; however, The Olympic layout made an immediate impression on her.
“The first thing I noticed about the course is the rough is really long,” Hung said. “I don’t know if I’ve every played in a tournament with the rough being that long. Hitting a good tee ball is going to be key to shooting a good score. During the past practice rounds, my ball striking has been really good. If I can do the same thing in the tournament, I think it will be good.”
Hung wrapped up her junior season with the Bulldogs last week at the NCAA Championships. She was one of just two golfers to represent Georgia in every tournament during the 2020-21 season and was the Bulldogs’ top individual finisher at both the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic and the LSU Tiger Golf Classic. Hung finished the season with a 74.64 average over 33 rounds, with seven par-or-better efforts. She enjoyed a strong spring campaign, with six of her seven par-or-better loops coming during the 2021 calendar.
Hung helped Georgia capture the team title at the NCAA Columbus Regional and then place 18th at the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I learned a lot from last week,” Hung said. “After the tournament, I reviewed my game to see what mistakes I made. I made lots of notes. I definitely tried to clear my mind. Having the right mindset is going to be key to playing well in any tournament but especially a tournament like the U.S. Open.”
Hung earned her spot in the field by finishing third in a qualifier at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta on May 5. That qualifier was contested over three days due to prolonged weather delays. Competition began on Monday morning but Hung completed just two holes before play was suspended and torrential rains flooded the course. On Tuesday, play didn’t begin until the afternoon, and she finished No. 6 before the competition was halted again.
Hung returned on Wednesday knowing she would have a 30-hole day. She was 1-over through 28 holes of the 36-hole qualifier but rallied to birdie three of her final six holes to surge up the leaderboard late in the day.
All told, six UGA golfers have combined to earn eight spots in the fields of the last six U.S. Opens, including Rinko Mitsunaga and Bailey Tardy in 2016, Tardy in 2017, Céleste Dao and Jillian Hollis in 2018, Dao in 2019, Caterina Don in 2020 and Hung in 2021.
As has become commonplace with Bulldogs competing in major summer events, head coach Josh Brewer will serve as Hung’s caddy in San Francisco. Most recently, Brewer caddied for Don in the 2020 U.S. Open last December.
“It’s an honor that they trust me,” Brewer said. “I hope it speaks to the relationship we’ve built as a player-coach and what we do at Georgia. I think this will help as we get back to Georgia next season. I’ve told Jo multiple times that she’s the boss this week. She tells me when to have the car ready. She hasn’t asked for Starbucks yet, but I’ve asked her plenty of times. I’ve also thanked her for asking me because it’s a tremendous honor to take part in a U.S. Open.”
Hung will be paired with Haley Moore and Haylee Harford, who were standout golfers collegiately for Arizona and Furman, respectively, in the first and second rounds. That trio will tee off from No. 1 at 12:05 p.m. ET on Thursday. They will play the back side of the course first on Friday, opening their round at 5:20 p.m. ET. Live scoring will be available via usga.org.