Different name, same consistent game for women’s golf star

Women’s golfer Xu Yue, a junior from Beijing, China, recently changed her American nickname from “Joy” to “JoJo.”

“I never liked ‘Joy’ since I came here and JoJo sounds very similar to my nickname in Chinese,” Xu said. “I’ve wanted to change it for a while and I like JoJo a lot more.”

Although Xu’s name has changed, her consistency for Appalachian’s women’s golf team – and her tenacity in exploring outside opportunities – has not.

Xu recently hosted a show for the Chinese Travel Channel as it covered the Masters in Augusta, Ga. It was the second time the electronic media broadcasting major got a chance to work for the channel – she was also a commentator for the 64th Women’s U.S. Open in 2009.

“It was a really amazing and fun time,” Xu said of her Masters coverage. “I got to interview pros like Adam Scott, Bernhard Langer and Gary Player. They were all really nice and really gave me good interviews.”

But that outside experience hasn’t lessened Xu’s dedication to her own golf career.

“I got to hit a few balls while I was in Georgia,” she said. “Plus, I’ve been playing competitively for 10 years. After a day or two of practice, I feel right back to the same as usual.”

Xu has stood out for Appalachian since her freshman year in 2010. That year, an individual title at Moss Creek made her the first Mountaineer women’s golfer to win the Southern Conference.

Xu also stands out as one of the only Chinese women playing varsity college golf.

“There was one other player, but she changed her nationality,” Xu said. “I believe in the future, there will be a lot more women from China playing golf in American colleges.”

Xu, who finished 19th overall in last year’s Southern Conference Tournament, said her athletic stops and starts have come alongside continued personal growth.

“At first, there was a language barrier, but everybody on the team has always been really nice and helpful,” she said. “I have gotten a lot better with my English, which has really improved my relationships with other people and helped me socially.”

Xu has a good chance at the individual SoCon title this year, but is more focused on her team.

“I would like to win, of course, but I really hope and want the team to do well,” she said. “I think we have a really good chance at bringing back the team title.”

Story: TYLER WOOD, Sports Reporter