ROGERS, ARK | On Monday, Vivian Hou was trying to Monday qualify for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. On Saturday, Hou stepped off the course well inside the cut line at minus 8 through two rounds, just four shots off the lead. It’s the first made cut of Hou’s rookie season after missing out in 11 consecutive events.
“After 11 straight missed cuts, the first cut made is huge for me,” Hou said. “It's been really hard for me missing cuts a lot, week by week. I really appreciate to have made it through and have an opportunity to play tomorrow.”
So far, Hou has played well at Pinnacle Country Club and she has been happy to ride that wave. She’s hit 88.9% of her greens in regulation and is averaging 259.25 yards off the tee, perfect play for a short course that requires strong ball striking.
“I think the most important thing is the Bermuda fairways that give my drive a little run and release,” Hou explained. “For those little dogleg holes, the first shot distance is just right on my number. It's better to hit like 250, 260 than 280. I feel really comfortable playing on this golf course.”
So far, the highlight of Hou’s stellar performance in Arkansas was a hole-in-one on No. 11 on Friday. She then kept that momentum rolling, making two more birdies to shoot 65 on the day.
“It was on 11 with my 8-iron a little into the wind and the pin was at the very front,” Hou recounted. “I was planning to hit the punch shot and went a little long. (The ball) hit the slope and rolled all the way back and went in. I saw that and everybody was so surprised, and I was surprised, too. I was really excited to have a hole in one.”
Saturday saw a slow start for Hou on the back nine, with back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14. But things turned around when she made the turn. Hou recorded three straight birdies on holes 1, 2 and 3 and ended the day at -2 heading into the final round.
While Hou is happy to have made the cut at Arkansas, she is not celebrating yet. She remains locked in on her game and hopes to hurry up the leaderboard on Sunday.
“Full gas,” Hou said of her game plan going forward. “Just doing my best and climbing up the leaderboard.”