On a blustery day in Texas just under two months ago, Lilia Vu’s life changed forever.
Just a few weeks after finding her first win on Tour at the Honda LPGA Thailand, Vu hoisted The Chevron Championship trophy, becoming a major champion for the first time. That Sunday, as she jumped into that frigid pond off the 18th green at The Club at Carlton Woods, she sealed her fate as one of golf’s newest superstars.
For the next five weeks, Vu was anywhere and everywhere – somehow finding time to honor all her media commitments and play in high stakes competitions like the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown. And then, just ahead of the Mizuho Americas Open, Vu was stopped dead in her tracks by a back injury scare and has been missing from Tour competition for the past three weeks.
“It’s been a whirlwind for me trying to manage everything,” Vu told the media on Tuesday. “I feel like I’ve just been going nonstop on everything. Kind of had a back injury scare at Mizuho so I had to pull out, and I was just trying to get my body healthy for the next couple of weeks. I’m really grateful to be here right now because it could have been bad with my back, but we’re okay now.”
Vu was quickly reminded to always center herself and her health in her new jet-setting lifestyle and has luckily made it back to the LPGA Tour just in time for the second major of the season, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. While Vu was taking time to care for her body, she also took a moment to reset mentally ahead of this week. Winning a major title is an almost incomprehensible accomplishment, so Vu is trying to focus on the tangibles: how grateful she is for her progress and all the fun tournaments up next on the schedule.
“Just appreciating where I am now and how far I’ve come and what’s to come,” Vu said. “Looking forward to a bunch of great tournaments coming up this season that I’m super excited for.”
Vu also hit a bit of a slump in her game following The Chevron Championship. She missed two consecutive cuts before finishing 17th at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards. Before that, Vu’s season-worst result was a T14 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Luckily, Vu is no stranger to hard times. After an abysmal rookie season in 2019, Vu was relegated to the Epson Tour during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. During those years, Vu rediscovered her love for the game and for herself, forging a new path to success on the LPGA Tour. The California native has a deep appreciation for those tough times and uses those experiences to her advantage.
“I feel like I put a lot of my self-worth into my golf game, and that’s really not the way to do it out here because I’m more than just my golf game,” Vu said. “I really had to learn that the hard way. I don’t take it for granted; I needed to go through that rough patch in order to get where I am today, so I appreciate that too.”
So, in time, Vu will certainly find a way to appreciate all the lessons her major championship victory has taught her – including her injury scare. Though she may not have much momentum on her side, the 25-year-old has a treasure trove of experience to carry her through the week and to the top of the leaderboard at Baltusrol Golf Club.