"I’m a really worldwide type of girl,” says Julie Yang. For those who know Yang, that is a sizable understatement. Born in Seoul, Korea, Yang’s family moved to Thailand when she was 3 and enrolled her in an international school two years later. Already fluent in Thai and Korean, Yang began learning English and had her first glimpse into the game of golf all by the age of 6.
“Just to know this game is a privilege for me,” Yang says. “And just to be able to go to the golf course and meet so many great people, I think that’s the best part.”
Enticed into the sport after following her dad around the course, Yang quickly improved her game by leaps and bounds, catching her family’s attention. Aware of her supreme talent and drive, the Yangs immigrated to the United States when Julie was 10, in support of their daughter’s bright golf future.
Now 13, Yang, who practices four hours each day after school and all day on weekends, is one of the top junior golfers in the country. A recent seventh-grade graduate, the Chandler teen has claimed more than 60 tournament victories and established a low-round score of 64.
“I don’t care what I win or stuff like that. I just wish that I can do my best; and whatever I get, I get,” Yang says.
Yang’s “best” is proving to be more than enough. In fact, she became the second youngest champion in American Junior Golf Association history with a win at the 2007 AJGA Randy Smith Classic. She was also the youngest qualifying medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, foreshadowing perhaps, her ambitions to play on the professional circuit.
When she’s not competing on junior golf’s main stage, Yang indulges in common teen practices like hanging out with friends and going to the mall. “Golf takes a lot of my time,” Yang says. “I’m kind of addicted to golf in a way. But that doesn’t really change me as a person either, because I like doing other stuff that normal kids would also like to do."