Victoria Valenzuela is having a phenomenal 2022.
The St. Anthony High School sophomore helped the Saints to a successful girls’ golf season, and then, last month, she won the Long Beach Junior Golf Championship as part of the historic Long Beach Golf Festival. To cap off her huge July, Valenzuela—who is also a songwriter and singer—released her first song, “A Stolen Kiss,” on streaming platforms.
“That artistic mind that I can use in golf with things like putting and other visual things, I can incorporate into music and writing,” Valenzuela said.
Whether it’s on the golf course or in the recording studio, Valenzuela has a swashbuckling approach to her individual endeavors.
“I’m a fearless golfer who is not afraid to hit improbable shots,” Valenzuela said. “With music, I’ll think of something and then I’ll just write it really fast on a piece of paper. I think I should probably slow down a little bit, because that’s something I try to do in golf too.”
Her never-say-die attitude, though, worked perfectly at Recreation Park Golf Course last month, where Valenzuela won the junior championship in her first tournament appearance. She was able to take advantage of the wide open spaces on the old course and shoot a winning round of 78.
The victory is more impressive when considering her age, the near 100-year history of the Long Beach Golf Festival and the fact that it’s back this summer hosting nine events at local courses for the first time since 2019.
“She’s not a big girl with a ton of power, but she has a lot of grit,” said Valenzuela’s dad, Andre. “If she has a swing, she has a chance, so she never counts herself out of a hole. She has a unique ability to scramble and save a bunch of pars.”
Andre Valenzuela is also an avid golfer, and he introduced the sport to his daughter when she was 8-years-old, bringing her to the course to pass the time.
“She gravitated to it really early,” Andre Valenzuela said. “She just had that focus and a ton of patience. Those are two attributes you need to put together to excel at the game.”
“My first memories were of just being on the course and being surrounded by a golf environment,” the younger Valenzuela said. “A lot of parts of golf I’ve put into my real life like confidence, focus, having respect for other people, have respect for yourself and work your hardest to get to where you want to be.”
Because golf courses were some of the first sports facilities to open after the COVID shutdowns, the St. Anthony student was able to spend a lot of time alone on the course while working on her game. That dedication paid off this spring, when she was an All-League golfer for her high school and advanced to CIF Southern Section competition.
“I’ve always been a pretty reserved, quiet person, and golf is something I can be super competitive in without having to be aggressive like in other sports,” she said. “Being in quietness and in my own mind is something I really enjoy.”
Victoria Valenzuela added that she loves singing to herself or listening to music while golfing, but that passion also came with hard work. During the COVID shutdowns, she dove into music and taught herself to play guitar and piano.
“I’ve always enjoyed singing and writing, and now I’m taking it more seriously,” she said.
When you listen to her new song, “Another Stolen Kiss,” it’s plain to hear the influences of the artist’s all-time favorite singer, Taylor Swift, and the bands her dad played for her, like Foo Fighters and Green Day.
“We’re incredibly proud of her accomplishments,” her father said.
While the Long Beach Golf Festival’s Junior Golf Championship has come and gone, the festival itself has continued. The season-long event concludes this weekend, with Sunday as the last day of the famous Long Beach Open—open only to professionals and certain qualified amateurs—at Skylinks and El Dorado Golf Course. Past winners of the event include PGA golfers Paul Goydos, Mark O’Meara, Fred Couples and Craig Stadler. The winner this year will receive $30,000.