Over 6,000 miles from home, Cindy Hsu finds her footing in Austin

JT Bowen, General Sports Reporter

Cindy Hsu misses her dog, Piercy. She misses the food, too. But in her first year as a Longhorn, Hsu’s transition from Taiwan to Austin could have gone worse.

Hsu, a true freshman, stepped into a prominent role for the women’s golf team early on in her career, and for good reason: she has excelled from the outset.

Texas head coach Ryan Murphy does not shy away from giving young players opportunities to find their footing at the collegiate level. Hsu rewarded this faith, placing eighth in her debut at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate and helping the Longhorns to secure second place overall.

Hsu followed up with another top-10 finish at the “Mo” Morial Invitational and was once again a key contributor to a Texas overall runner-up finish. She struggled at the Windy City Classic, finishing 69th, but bounced back in October’s Stanford Intercollegiate, tying for 25th with fellow Longhorn Bentley Cotton.

Hsu is proud of her early season play, but knows she left strokes on the course in her more recent appearances and aims to be more consistent once play picks back up in February.

“I would say I am lucky that I played my first team qualifier and first tournament with (a) really good swing feeling,” Hsu said. “But since all of my teammates practice hard, it motivates me to work hard in order to play in tournaments.”

Be it skill, luck, or both, Hsu has emerged early and looks to be a foundational piece to the women’s golf team during her time on campus. Off the greens, she’s figuring it out, too.

Hsu, while new to Austin, wasn’t totally out of her depth when she stepped foot on campus in August. She attended the CTBC International Academy in Taiwan, where she learned English, smoothing the move over and giving her an idea as to what her new life might look like.

Hsu had the chance to see her family in November when she traveled to Thailand to participate in the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship. She took home 35th place and finished 3-over par.

“It was a great honor to represent Taiwan,” Hsu said of the opportunity. “That is something I take a lot of pride in and it was a lot of fun as well.”

Hsu notes the increased workload and homesickness as two of the biggest hurdles in her first semester at UT. But Hsu has found comfort in leaning on her teammates. Emily Odwin, who is from Barbados, is the other freshman international golfer on the team.

“I would say I am really happy to be a part of the team because it makes me feel we are a family, and the warmth really helped me as an international student,” Hsu said. “We are very close and we help each other out with whatever we need.”

For now, Hsu is just like any other freshman at UT — a small fish in a big pond. She’s currently on a quest to find the best Taiwanese food in West Campus, aided by her teammates.

And while Taiwan is still home, Hsu is fitting in just fine on the Forty Acres.