Albane Valenzuela certainly didn’t predict her rookie season would be upended in a flash due to a global pandemic but she’s still as excited as ever to be a 2020 LPGA Tour rookie. The 22-year-old appeared on “A New Breed of Golf” on Sirius XM PGA TOUR Radio to talk with Michael Breed about her first events as a professional and more this past week.
Currently in her family’s home in the Bahamas, Valenzuela is grateful for the time she gets to spend with family.
“I see the sunshine every day. I can’t play as much golf as before because we are still in very strict quarantine and lock down rules, but I get to see the sun and my family so I can hardly complain,” said Valenzuela. “We had a week straight where we couldn’t even set foot outside of our house. That was really crazy. I live on a golf course, so I get to sneak out and play a few holes with my family, so it’s really not too bad. We don’t have a driving range and I cannot really play normally the way I would want to, but it’s still pretty nice.”
Valenzuela, who turned professional after playing collegiate golf at Stanford University, said the start of the season has been quite the learning experience. She has only played in three events, and is starting to understand what it takes to be a professional athlete while overcoming coronavirus obstacles.
“I’m part of the rookie COVID edition. It’s a little bit special, but I guess it’s the same for everyone, even the veterans and athletes all across different sports,” said Valenzuela, who earned her 2020 Tour card with a T6 finish at the 2019 LPGA Q-Series. “Being a part of the LPGA Tour is so special and unique. We’ll see how things unfold with this virus, but I’m really excited to get back and compete with everyone else, and to keep doing my job.”
Over the past couple of months Valenzuela said she has relied on prior professional tournament experience to help with the transition to the LPGA Tour. She even picked up a few putting tips from eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon after she was disappointed in her putting at the start of the 2020 season. She said she really enjoyed his philosophy of keeping things simple and having fun.
“Having a new perspective, a fresh perspective, on my putting it was really great and gave me a lot of confidence,” said Valenzuela. “Now I’m really excited about putting, and I love practicing it.”