In the fall of 2012, a young freshman joined the girls golf team at Neuqua Valley high school. While her talent was obvious from the start, few could forsee that Jessica Yuen was on her way to becoming one of the greatest golfers in IHSA history.
Despite her youth, Yuen quickly turned heads with her skill on the course. The freshman phenom played beyond her years, finishing as the state runner up at the 2A state meet, just one stroke behind champion Stephanie Miller.
The following year, Yuen and her friendly rivalry with Waubonsie Valley star Bing Singhsumalee really took off, with the pair tying at the regional meet and Singhsumalee edging Yuen by a single stroke for the sectional crown. But at the state meet, Yuen continued to show that she thrived in the biggest moments. The Wildcat sophomore didn’t just win the state championship; she won it handily, by four strokes over and Isabelle Kane from Loyola. Jessica Yuen became the first ever girls golf state champion from Naperville.
2014 continued the ever-growing legacy, as Yuen once again shined at the state meet. Despite finishing behind her Warriors rival in both the regional and sectional, Yuen stepped up when the lights were brightest, and won her second straight state championship behind a clutch birdie putt on the 16th hole.
After leading her team to a regional title in 2015, Yuen made IHSA history with her 2nd place finish, becoming the first golfer, regardless of gender to finish in the top 2 in four consecutive seasons.
From there, the rising star joined the girls golf program at the University of Missouri, where she made an immediate impact. Yuen was an All Freshman SEC selection in the spring of 2017 and an NCAA Regional Qualifier. In 2018, Yuen helped the Tigers qualify for the NCAA Regionals as a team, while Yuen became just the 2nd golfer in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Hopefully the Wildcat legend will be able to shake the injuries and finish her collegiate career with the same tremendous level of performance she has always shown. For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell