Lilia Vu has returned to Los Angeles as a star.
The 25-year-old Vu, from Fountain Valley and UCLA, won The Chevron Championship on Sunday, has risen to fourth in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and leads the Race to the CME Globe point standings as she prepares to play in the LPGA Tour’s JM Eagle LA Championship beginning Thursday at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles.
“Yeah, I’m super excited to go back to where our home course for UCLA was,” said Vu, who beat Angel Yin of Arcadia, not far from Los Angeles, with a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole of to capture her first major title. “I’m super excited to go there. I have a lot of great memories from that course.
“ … Everything happens for a reason. All the bad things, everything I’ve ever struggled through, family-wise, internally, I think of myself as the biggest obstacle, I had a pretty tough, not easy. I was definitely my own enemy, and I don’t know how I pulled this out.”
Vu, who claimed her first LPGA Tour victory and one of her five as a professional in the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, is looking forward to playing in front of so man friends and family this week at Wilshire.
However, probably the most important person won’t be there.
“The reason I’m here is because of my grandpa,” said Vu, who also won the 2016 Women’s Southern California Amateur Championship and the Pacific 12 Conference Championship twice when she was at UCLA. “When my grandpa and his kids and wife fled Vietnam, he actually went away for a couple months at a time building a boat (to escape). Then yeah, he got Mom is here, and then she had me, and my grandpa is the reason why I’m here. He passed away at the beginning of Covid.
“(During the Chevron) I was getting really upset on the course, and I just had to remind myself, ‘Grandpa is with you. And he’d be really disappointed if you were getting upset like this and that you didn’t get your act together.’”
The LPGA Tour is playing in Los Angeles area for the second time in recent weeks, as Rouning Yin of China captured the DIO Implant LA Open at Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estates at the beginning of March, beating 10th-ranked Georgia Hall of England by one stroke.
In the field this week from the top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings include Vu, Hall, No. 1 Nelly Korda, No. 3 Jin Young Ko of South Korea, No. 5 Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, No. 6 Minjee Lee of Australia, No. 8 Brooke Henderson of Canada and No. 9 Celine Boutier of France.
Other players teeing it up include Danielle Kang, Leona Maguire of Ireland, Jessica Korda, Carlota Ciganda of Spain, Cristie Kerr, Megan Khang, Paula Creamer, Allisen Corpuz, Gaby Lopez of Mexico, Ayaka Furue of Japan, Hoo Joo Kim of South Korea, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, Lucy Li, Mel Reid of England, Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand, Natalie Gulbis, Brittany Lincicome, Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden, Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland, Bronte Law of England, Jennifer Kupcho, Charley Hull of England and Lizette Salas.
Although this is the first year of the JM Eagle LA Championship, the LPGA Tour has played at Wilshire Country Club before and players in the field who have won there include Henderson, Lee and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, twice.
Wilshire hosted the DIO Implant LA Open, which moved to Palos Verdes Golf Club this season, from 2018-22. Years before, the club hosted the 2001 Office Depot Championship, which was won by Annika Sorenstam.
For first-round tee times, visit https://www.lpga.com/tournaments/jm-eagle-la-championship/leaderboard