Playing on a tournament sponsor exemption, Sophie Guo (Xianju, People’s Republic of China) rounds out the 132-player field for the fifth annual IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. Her first appearance on the “Road to the LPGA” came back at the 2018 IOA Golf Classic, where she finished tied for 55th.
Guo has excelled in golf from a young age. In 2018, she compted at the USGA Junior Championship and captured medalist honors at the Florida Women’s Amateur Championship. Furthermore, her career on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) is decorated with five wins and honors as a member of the East Team for the 2018 Wyndham Cup. To top it all off, Guo was named to the USA Today All-USA Girls Golf Second Team in 2018. While golf has been at the forefront of her athletic career, certain skills she uses on the course can be attributed to Latin dance and gymnastics lessons from her youth.
“Learning dance and gymnastics growing up has been one of my most precious memories,” said Guo, who will head off No. 1 tee of Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon tomorrow at 1:40 p.m. PDT. “It was a lot of training, practice, sweat and pain. However, I also gained a group of friends that I cherish.
“I still try to dance for fun sometimes, even though it looks nothing close to what I did before. Dance and gymnastics help me not just physically (for coordination, strength and mobility), but also mentally to be able to grind through the tough times and be better.”
Now a sophomore at the University of Texas , Guo claimed her first collegiate victory at the 2019 White Sands Invitational. Her 17-under par 199 performance was good for a six-stroke win and set the school record as she became the first golfer in program history to post a sub-200, 54-hole total.
Guo will be joined this week in Beaumont, Calif., by several former Longhorns including Emilee Hoffman (Folsom, California), Sophia Schubert (Oak Ridge, Tennessee), Madison Pressel (Boca Raton, Florida) and Maddie Luitwieler (Katy, Texas).
“I am very excited to see Longhorn graduates in the field,” Guo said. “So far in my career, I am most pleased with the game I played in my freshman year at the University of Texas. This week, I just want to do my best and learn from this event. It’s a great opportunity to play with professionals. I am excited to have received an invite and feel so honored.”