Megan Yang Earns Full Ride to UCI for Golf


Elena Williams, Editor-in-Chief

Determination, perseverance and a good eye: senior Megan Yang has all the skills she needs to excel in golf. Through five years of hard work and practice, she has risen from a novice player to one of the top golfers in the state, her journey culminating in a full-ride sports scholarship to UC Irvine.
Before she picked up golf, Yang was a talented gymnast approaching the competitive level. Still, she knew that her passion for gymnastics was dying.
“At the time, I was mostly there because all my friends were there,” Yang said.
When Yang sprained her ankle in seventh grade, she took time off. The distance from the sport led her to reconsider her future in gymnastics and ask herself whether she truly wanted to commit long-term or choose a new sport to pursue. In the end, Yang decided that golf, which she had played recreationally with her father, might be a better fit.
With two years of practice and experience under her belt, Yang joined the Lynbrook girls’ golf team in ninth grade, where she immediately excelled. After finding her place on the team, she grew to respect her experienced senior counterparts, who became her role models. They, in turn, encouraged her at practices and cheered her on at tournaments.
“When I played, it didn’t feel like I was playing alone,” Yang said. “Even though golf is a single-player sport, they were always there to help me.”
Central to Yang’s personal and athletic growth was the process of building her confidence and pushing her limits. The support of her upperclassmen teammates helped, but she needed to discover her potential on her own. Her first major high school tournament, an American Junior Golf Association championship in Vermont, helped her accomplish that.
“I had just barely qualified, and I didn’t expect to place at all, but then I did. That was when it all became realistic,” Yang said. “That was when I could say, ‘I can do this.’”
In the years since, Yang has worked tirelessly to hone her abilities.

“We practice four days a week, and she’s practicing seven days a week,” said girls’ varsity golf coach Art Zimmermann. “She’s always at golf course somewhere, or playing at a tournament.”

With hard work, her already impressive game has become phenomenal. Every success bolstered her confidence and gave her the courage she needed to get out of her comfort zone. Win by win, her ambitions became achievements, and her dreams solidified into realities. Before she knew it, she was the star of the Lynbrook girls’ golf team.

“She’s always been our anchor, always bringing in a great score when we need her to,” Zimmermann said. “She’s always been the first, second or third golfer on the roster. This year, she’s our number one.”

As Yang grew over the years, she saw herself become a role model for the next years of underclassmen golfers.
“She was an inspiration to all of us,” said sophomore teammate Laasya Chukka. “She encouraged us to work harder by seeing how much she had accomplished in high school. She made us believe that we could do the same.”
This summer marked another milestone in Yang’s journey, when she played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, an extremely competitive tournament in which she faced off many of the best young women golfers from the U.S. and around the world. Once again, she expected the championship to be a learning experience and nothing more, and once again, her success proved her doubts wrong: out of 156 star golfers, mainly of college-age, Yang was one of the 32 who made the cuts to the second round.

“Just qualifying was amazing,” Zimmermann said. “For her to get to the second round was incredible.”
In early August, UC Irvine offered her a full-ride scholarship to play on their women’s golf team. She accepted, relieved that her hard work meant freedom from the stress of applications and the financial burdens of attending college. Looking to the future, she can’t help but be excited.
“I’m really looking forward to the sport, as well as getting to meet the people,” Yang said. “You always hear about how the friends you find in college last for life, and I’m looking forward to making friends with other people like me on the golf team.”

When Yang graduates this spring, Lynbrook will lose an invaluable athlete and an incredible person.

“She’ll be sorely missed next year,” Zimmermann said. “You don’t always get athletes like Megan on your team, and not a lot of them go on to play collegiately. I’m excited for her, and I’m proud of her.”

Next fall will mark the beginning of an exciting and challenging new journey for Yang. She will find herself in the uncharted territories of both college life and collegiate athletics. Still, her work ethic, determination and strength will carry her forward in the years to come.