Talented Freshmen Arrive on the Links

If you’ve stepped into the Admissions Visitor Center at the Agassiz House lately, maybe you’ve heard an admissions officers explain that to get into Harvard, you don’t have to win a Nobel Prize in the fourth grade.

That accomplishment, they quip, comes in the fifth grade.

Jokes aside, however, few would contest that Crimson applicants do put together very impressive resumes. In fact, to understand this, we need to look no further than the brand new class of 2014.

Enter Bonnie Hu and Seiji Liu. In addition to graduating at the top of their respective classes, both students are listed in Golfweek magazine as a “Freshman to Watch.” With only 20 male and 20 female athletes named in the article, Hu and Liu’s titles are undoubtedly a sign of good things to come for the Harvard men’s and women’s golf teams.

Strangely enough, tennis served as a springboard for both Hu and Liu in beginning their golf careers.

“I had burned out from tennis,” Liu explains. “I played too much when I was growing up, and I got too into it, so my dad switched me over to golf. It was a way for me to spend more time with him and my siblings, and it was a fun game to play.”

Hu’s father, like Liu’s, seemed to have the same idea.

“I had to stop playing tennis, and my dad thought I should get into golf,” Hu says. “One of my best friends at the time was also playing golf, so I thought it would be fun.”

The “fun” sport hooked both Hu and Liu, and by the time high school arrived, both were deeply invested in the game.

Liu, for his part, transferred at the start of 10th grade to The Pendleton School of the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., to focus more closely on honing his skills.

“It was kind of half school, half intensive golf training,” he says. “That escalated my game.”

And escalate, his game certainly did.

Over the next three years, Liu picked up seven AJGA top-10 finishes as well as 12 top-15 finishes. In perhaps his finest golf moment, Liu nabbed second place at the 2008 AJGA Mayakoba Classic.

When Liu graduated from The Pendleton School, he was ranked 38th overall in the Golfweek/Titlest National Rankings, and within his high school class, he was ranked 12th. Academically, the Crimson golfer was just as strong. A two-time HP Junior Academic All-American, Liu was valedictorian and an AP Scholar with Honors.

Harvard, then, was a simpler transition than one would expect for the typical incoming freshman.