After turning professional in mid-2019, Bethany Wu got in one Epson Tour start in February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down competition for months. After that hiccup to start her elite professional career, Wu quickly made her way up the Epson Tour leaderboard, opening the 2021 season with a runner-up finish at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes and adding eight more top-25 finishes.
But despite the success, Wu came up just shy of reaching the LPGA Tour via the Race for the Card. Her $71,179 was good enough for 11th on the Official Money List, $4,429 shy of Rachel Rohanna in 10th.
“Looking back, it did sting a lot, but everything, again, everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot this season. Learned what I like to do off the course, scheduling my practices, and all that,” said Wu, a four-time All-Pac-12 player for UCLA. “I'm actually very proud of how I finished and how well I played with the amount of tournaments I had.”
While she would have loved one more good finish in 2021, Wu looks back at the season as one of tremendous personal growth, particularly outside the ropes. So many college stars talk about the rude awakening of a young professional career, faced with making many decisions that had previously been made for them by parents and coaches. Wu found peace in beautiful scenery, driving from New York to Idaho during the Tour’s summer swing. She also dove into motivational books (The Slight Edge, The Happiness Advantage, The Book of Joy) and even kept a running tally of the best ice cream she found on her travels.
“I would always go to these ice cream shops wherever we traveled to,” said Wu, who shouted out a Toasted S’moreo flavor in Albany as the year’s highlight. “My friends and I would find the place, go there, try to get it like four out of the six nights we're there or something.”
Tuesday night in Mobile will be no different, as Wu already has a scoop shop in mind. “If there is no waffle cone, it's an automatic no,” she said with a big laugh.