Good Sports: Valley Hmong American golfer hoping to break barriers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- When it comes to golf, Vunnisa Vu is a natural.

The 17-year-old first found success on the tennis court as a nationally-ranked junior player.

"I think my parents kind of thought that was a better opportunity for me because, in tennis, I was petite and short, so I think that was a disadvantage for me," she said.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Vu's family decided to move back to her father's hometown of Fresno.

"In Minnesota, there's not much playing time, especially in golf," she said. "So I think coming to California, there's year-round golf, so a lot more practice time."

A move that's helped pave the way for back-to-back wins at the Valley's top junior golf tournament - the Len Ross Memorial.

"I feel really grateful," says her dad, Pheng Vu. "I'm very happy for her success and for our team that we develop a lot and come a long way."

When he's not homeschooling her, Pheng also doubles as her coach.

"It's not easy -- it's very challenging to switch from dad and to be the coach for the kid," he said.

For the Vu's, the sky's the limit.

"Our goal is to aim as high as possible," Pheng said.

This month, Vunnisa received an offer to play at Fresno State and while she intends to stay in the Valley, her goals are even bigger.

"I think my long-term goal is playing on tour," she said.

Along the way, this proud Hmong-American is hoping to break some barriers.

"I hope I inspire other girls of color and Asians to play this sport too," she said. "Someone who comes to mind is like Megan Khang and Suni Lee. They inspire me to reach the top."

A driving motivation that could make her just the second Hmong player ever on tour.

"Hopefully, I can give back to the community as they've given me support," she said.
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