Q&A With Lizette Salas - SCPGA Junior Tour AlumniLizette Salas joins us for a special Q&A in celebrating the Southern California PGA Junior Tour's 75th Anniversary
The SCPGA Junior Tour is celebrating its 75th anniversary this season. Can you comment on this milestone?
Congratulations to all the past and present staff who have created an incredible organization for juniors and their families to not only compete with the best of the best of Southern California but to grow into well-rounded individuals. I can speak for myself and my former SCPGA competitors that the years we spent traveling and competing played a huge part in the foundation of the people we are today.
When did you first fall in love with the game of golf?
I started competing in SCPGA events just shy of my 10th birthday, and I can recall feeling anxious and excited to play in tournaments. I loved playing different sports, but there was something about golf and having everything on you that was so fascinating to me. The goal to accumulate trophies also sparked the love, but it was also looking over to the gallery and seeing my dad going through all the emotions with me.
When did you realize you could make a professional career out of it?
My dream as a kid was to compete on the biggest stage of women’s golf. Every school activity where they asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always responded, “Pro Golfer!” But it wasn’t until I was a sophomore at USC that I was fully committed to taking the correct steps to give myself the biggest chance to make my dreams a reality. Being a student-athlete gave me the resources to not only compete with the best, but this environment helped me solidify my path onto the LPGA TOUR.
Tell us about the relationship with your PGA Professional Coach Jim Gormley, and the impact working with a PGA Member has had on your professional career.
Where do I even begin? Jim and I met during my time at USC, where he was our volunteer assistant coach, but we didn’t start working together until 2012. With his resume and involvement with the SCPGA and being a PGA member, it allowed me to trust in his ability to help me get to the next level. We have gone through a lot of ups and downs in the span of 11 years, and I am beyond grateful for the impact he has had not only in my career but in my life overall.
Did you ever imagine having your name associated with an event on the Southern California PGA Junior Tour Schedule? What’s that been like for you to give back to the program that you competed on as a junior golfer?
Throughout my years competing in the SCPGA & Toyota Tour Cup Series, I developed great relationships with the staff and really admired their work in giving junior golfers the best tournament experience. So once I turned professional, I made it a goal to become a partner and host a tournament in my name. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the SCPGA so not only was this my way of saying thank you but to show the next generation of golfers that they are on the right path to achieving greatness.
Can you share any memorable moments or highlights from your junior career?
There are so many, but there are two highlights that are my absolute favorite. The first was representing Team SoCal at the Junior Americas Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. I truly believe my love for team events started here; the entire experience was amazing, on top of being crowned champions with my parents in attendance. My second memorable moment was shooting a career-low 62 after a first-round 72 at Tukwit Canyon. I was 15 years old, and I remember the tournament officials’ look on their faces once the scorecards were signed and turned in.
What advice would you offer junior golfers who aspire to have a professional career in golf?
Love the grind. We all know golf is hard, physically and mentally. If you can develop a love for the process, it will help you get through those difficult moments in your career. As a junior golfer, it can be easy to start comparing yourself to others, but it’s also important to remember to write your own story, and do things that help you stay true to yourself.