Jun 15th, 2018
Swingin Siren Lily Muni He
Smashing it down the middle in California
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Lily...
Lily Muni He. She's blazin' it up all day long playing college golf in California with one eye firmly focussed on an LPGA career. And she's also been keeping us entertained with her Instagram capering...
7.33am: Up and at em. Lily gets out of bed and is straight in the sand pit...
8.35am: Hmmm, what shall I have for breakkie?
9am: Out for a golf-smoothie
9.30: Time to check her part-paid ordinaries and ponder her options...
10.22am: Lily hits the putting green and promptly nailes a 25 footer...
11.44am: Lily crushes a TaylorMade M2 fairway...
2.30pm: Hits the gym – encourages the envelope and interferes with the extreme...
5.22pm: A cheeky nine at the local...
7.55pm: Let's roll...
Other highlights from Golf Gal Central...
Not sure what all the guns are about, mind...
You can't beat a colour-coordinated golf buggy...
She gets her swing tempo from me, you know...
Muni Lily He was born in Chengdu, located in the southwestern province of Sichuan in the People’s Republic of China.
Golf didn’t have the popularity in China that Muni would later enjoy when she moved to Southern California, but her father played the game and she began playing it to tag along with him. By age 5, she was playing in small competitions in China. By 7, she was competing in larger junior tournaments.
Her family moved to Canada when she was just entering elementary school. After several years in Vancouver, they moved to San Diego.
“The weather is better there and there was much better competition in golf,” said He.... actually, this is confusing me. Let's call her Lily... “Moving to Southern California helped take my game to the next level.”
Lily (that's what her pals call her) is an extremely promising amateur golfer, studying andf playing golf at the University of Southern California.
In 2015, Muni qualified to play in the U.S. Women's Open and made the cut. She played in her first two professional tournaments, the Blue Bay LPGA and the Hyundai China Ladies Open.
When the ball collector on the range has broken down...
More appearances in pro tournaments followed in 2016, including a tie for 30th place at the Reignwood LPGA Classic. She also played the Hyundai China Ladies Open and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
So despite her young age - still just 19 - Muni He has a multi-continent, multi-pro-tour resume already.
And her freshman season as a USC Trojan? Southern Cal always has a very strong women's golf team. Muni made the tournament roster for nine of USC's 12 tournaments with a best finish of seventh place.
At the time this is written, He is ranked No. 47 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Anyone fancy a quick 9?
Pure and smooth. Lily ignores the dog and stripes one
Golf can get quite annoying and a bit upsetting sometimes... you'll bounce back Lily!
Confusion in the wind...
Lily's family moved into a golf-course community in California, so her ability to practice was also more convenient. Soon, she began competing in San Diego and Southern California junior golf tournaments, followed by U.S. Kids’ Golf events, the Junior World Golf Championship and later, American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments.
“Once I started playing more on a national level, I began to see the difference between myself and the top players my age,” said He. “I was like, ‘Wow, if this is what I want to do... well, I’d better start working on it.’”
“My short game was really my weak point, so I think the improvements in scoring and performance [this year] have come from the amount of practice I’ve put into my putting."
On June 2 2015, Lily qualified for the 2015 U.S Women’s Open Championship. She was one of four amateurs to survive the 36-hole cut, playing all four rounds with scores of 68-74-73-73.
By Sunday, she had tied 2013 USA Solheim Cup Team member Gerina Piller at 8-over 288, and finished two strokes behind LPGA stars and USGA champions Paula Creamer and Lexi Thompson.
“Honestly, the U.S. Women’s Open was probably the best week of my life,” said Lily, who was grouped with Creamer and I.K. Kim that week. “It had nothing to do with my performance – just the overall experience of being there. Playing in the Open showed me where I wanted to be in the future.”
Lily said she spent a lot of time at the Women’s Open watching the tempo of the pros and observing their course-management strategies. She played a practice round with World No. 1 and two-time Women’s Open champion Inbee Park.
And as she practiced alongside the pros, she gained a better understanding of how to mentally prepare for the championship.
Lily has met LPGA winner and compatriot Shanshan Feng. She loves the style of Michelle Wie and calls teen LPGA pro Lydia Ko one of her idols in golf.
But the honors student believes she still has a lot of work to do before she can hopefully join those players on the LPGA Tour. She has verbally committed to play college golf at the University of Southern California in the Autumn of 2017, which will enable her parents – now residing near the Los Angeles campus – to watch her collegiate career.
“I think getting a college degree is very important,” she said. “I know a lot of girls are not going to college these days, but I truly think you need to go through that process to fully grow and mature and to become more prepared for the professional tour.”
She added, “I think college golf teaches you how to be a part of a team and how to take care of yourself. And it would be a goal to help my team win a national championship.”
“I think I have matured over the past year,” Lily says. “Before, I was just a kid who was distracted by everything, so I think I’ve definitely grown up a little. I know what I want for my future and now I’m working hard for it.”