Teenage Triumph: Q&A with Elizabeth Wang
Elizabeth Wang turned 18 last week, but she’s seasoned well beyond those teenage years. A freshly-minted San Marino HS alum, Wang had quite the graduation present as she was invited to compete in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Shoal Creek in Alabama. The super-teen has played in LPGA events before, but this was a new and exciting challenge – it was for America’s Championship.
We had the chance to catch up with Elizabeth, who offered a patented light-hearted reflection on a tremendous journey, that included making the cut at a major championship.
FORE Her: You qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Industry Hills, a home course for you. How did you feel when you realized you had claimed one of the two spots?
Elizabeth Wang: It felt amazing to be able to qualify at my home course. It’s a course that I’ve played a lot and since I’m around so often, I’ve become friends with much of the staff there. The support I had was amazing and so heartwarming. Just being able to qualify was something that I dreamed of accomplishing for many years. But to do it at a place that I know so well, around people who have been following my progress, it felt like I was able to give them an experience as a ‘thanks’ for all the help and support.
FORE Her: You played in your first LPGA event at the age of 16, how was this experience different?
Elizabeth Wang: The ShopRite LPGA Classic in 2016 was memorable because it was my first time playing with those who I’ve admired on television all these years. At the time, I didn’t know if I could keep up with the professionals who attract millions of viewers worldwide with their talent. I think after two years, I was eager to get back and see my progress. It was amazing and left me star-struck to see all my idols in person, but I think this time, it became more of a test to update my goals, rather than take inventory of where my game is.
FORE Her: What was it like to play in the U.S. Women’s Open among many of the top professionals in the game? Any of your mentors in the field?
Elizabeth Wang: It was an amazing privilege and surreal to see many of my idols walking around, practicing and playing the same greens I was. I got to see Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson, as well as Lizette Salas, Charley Hull and Sandra Gal. I was honored to be able to share the course with them and test my skills during an incredible learning experience. It has taken a lot of time and dedication for those women to get to where they are and it’s something to continue to strive towards.
FORE Her: You were recently named an SCGA Junior Scholar. What does being a scholar mean to you?
Elizabeth Wang: It’s an honor to be named an SCGA Scholar and be able to represent the organization that advanced my golf career to the level that I’m at today. SCGA Junior provided me with so many opportunities in Southern California that I otherwise would not have been able to get, from the Golf Pass, to the events that pushed me to become better at my game and helped create lifelong friends and relationships along the way. To have the privilege of being named a Scholar means a lot to me and is something that I will treasure.
FORE Her: You’ve volunteered for SCGA Junior by helping beginner golfers with the game. Why do you do this?
Elizabeth Wang: I remember when I was younger and practicing in Colorado, there were many older juniors that I looked up to who were willing to practice with me. They inspired me and helped me grow my love for the game. Similarly, I would love to give back to the younger generation and become an inspiration to them in order to help realize the life lessons that can be instilled and applied through golf. SCGA Junior has helped so many young golfers reach great heights. I would love to be a part of that and give back to the game that has helped me throughout my life.
FORE Her: You’re playing in the upcoming SCGA Junior Foundation Cup fundraising event. Why is it important for you to participate in these events?
Elizabeth Wang: I can’t wait to play in the SCGA Junior Foundation Cup. For starters, it’s so much fun to be able to play in events where I can have fun and the purpose isn’t exactly to win, but just to have an incredible time with people! On a more serious note, I think it’s important that these events continue to happen because of the tremendous amount of help it provides, not only to SCGA Junior, but to those the organization helps and nurtures as well. I’m honored to be able to give back to the game that I love and I’m thankful to all those who have made the SCGA Junior as great as it is.
Want to play alongside Elizabeth and other top SoCal junior golfers? Join us at The Foundation Cup on July 9 at SeaCliff CC. Learn more here.