Lizette Salas is an alumna of the University of Southern California. She is the only USC student-athlete to be recognized as an All-American all four years in college.
As Lizette Salas stood on the tee to start her week at this year’s ANA Invitational, she looked down the fairway and saw dozens of faces along the ropes who looked just like her.
And for the next several hours and next several days, the pride of Azusa, California, was followed around Mission Hills Country Club step by step and shot by shot by women from the Latina Golfers Association (LGA).
Most were commuting from greater Los Angeles each day to support their homegrown star. All were there to cheer for the woman who caused them to care about a game few of them had grown up playing but had since come to love.
“Sometimes we all wear T-shirts and buttons with her name on it, and we’ll walk with her and clap and cheer,” said Azucena Maldonado, LGA founder.
“She knows who we are, plus there are plenty of Azusa friends, family and kids from the San Gabriel junior program following her,” Maldonado added. “We’re all so proud.”
Salas has become the centerpiece for American golfers of Hispanic descent, especially in her East L.A. hometown of Azusa, which has a 68 percent Latin population.
Excerpted from LPGA star Lizette Salas’ unique bond with her Latin community by Lisa D. Mickey.