When Canyon del Oro golfer Frankie Wu finished tied for 10th place at last year’s Division II state championship, his future looked bright.
But a summer vacation back to his home country of Tiawan slowed Wu’s offseason progress, which resulted in higher scores and a concerned father.
Fortunately, things are once again looking up for the Dorados senior. Wu is playing with more confidence and posting lower scores, coach John Farbarik said. Recently, Wu shot a 3-under-par 33 in practice.
“Things already appear to be coming together,” Farbarik said.
The Star recently sat down with Wu, 16, to find out more about his journey to Tucson and his rise to becoming one of the top golfers in the state:
Taiwan to Tucson
Wu grew up in Tainan, Taiwan, before moving to Tucson at age 10.
By then, he was already a golf prodigy.
Wu began learning the game at age 8 under the tutelage of his father, Robert, who still monitors his swing weekly. Recognizing his son’s talents at an early age, Dr. Wu moved his family to Tucson from Taiwan in 2007 so his son could have a chance to play his way into the Junior World Championship. Taiwan and other countries send participants, but selection is not based on qualifying.
Talent at a young age
Playing from the back tees as a youth in Taiwan, Wu developed distance with his drive early, an edge that has helped him to outdrive much of his competition stateside. At age 10, Wu was named USJGA boys 10-and-under player of the year. Four years later, he was crowned Player of the Year once again. His best round to date is a 5-under 67 he shot when he was 11, during a U.S. Kids event at Ken McDonald Golf Course in Tempe.
It’s not just luck
While many golfers go their entire life without a hole-in-one, Wu already has two to his name. He hit his first at 12 years old at The Vineyard at Escondido, a course outside of San Diego. The second, which earned a tag that he proudly displays on his golf bag, came two years ago at Randolph on No. 15 from 192 yards.
“The first time, I was a kid,” Wu said. “So I was like, ‘Oh my God, I got a hole-in-one.’ ”
He’s been improving
Wu was among four golfers out of 125 total to shoot a 1-under 69 on either day during the state finals at Silverbell last year. He has been working to refine his short game ever since losing to a more well-rounded player at a tournament when he was 11.
“I started training what I was bad at,” Wu said. “Short game is definitely the key to shooting a low score. You also have to be able to hit the ball on the green, put it close to the hole, and make putts.”