Ashland University sophomore Krystal Hu is going to have the opportunity to take her game to a national stage when she plays in the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships, Wednesday-Saturday (May 16-19) at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas.
"I'm really excited," Hu said, "because I remember this was one of my goals at the beginning of the semester. During the regional, there was some bad holes…but at the end, I found out I made it, and I was excited.
"I don't know what I'm going to shoot, but it's going to be a great experience."
Both Hu and Ashland head coach Andrew Bolinger said the goal is for Hu to place in the top 10 individually this week. Only one Eagle has accomplished that feat – Erin Misheff, who was tied for sixth at the end of the 2011 championships.
"She was tenth at regionals," Bolinger said, "but she's more than capable of being top 10 in the nation. It's a different course – tree-lined with water, so it's a difficult course. You have to go out there and hit the shots."
Hu said, "I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm capable of reaching that goal."
Hu is the leader of an Eagle team which played in the regional tournament earlier this month for the 10th consecutive season (2009-current). Her 2017-18 scoring average to date of 75.65 would be the best in a single season in program history (Ali Green, 75.75, 2015-16), and she has turned in nine top-10 placements, including six in a row.
"In the fall, that was one of her worst tournaments of the year," Bolinger said of the tournament at Ferris State, where the East Regional was played last week. "She was able to come back and play three solid rounds. With her being very solid, mentally capable and strong to finish that, was very exciting."
In Division II this season, Hu's scoring average is No. 54 in the nation, and her average score against par (3.65-over) is tied for 47th. The statistic that pops off the page, however, is her 3.07 scoring average on par-3 holes – the second-best mark in the country.
Hu joins Green (2016) and Misheff (2012) as Ashland women's golfers who have qualified for nationals as individuals.
"Krystal's right there, and she's capable of doing well going into nationals," said Bolinger, "and anything can happen."
It's not a bad list of accolades for a player who had seen action in just a half-season of collegiate golf prior to 2017-18.
"When I started playing college golf, I wasn't in America before, so I didn't know anything about college golf in America," Hu said. "I didn't know how nationals worked, regionals…how important those tournaments were. Now, I'm getting more and more comfortable and confident in myself."