Ana Paula Valdès grew up in Morelia, Mexico watching fellow countrywoman Lorena Ochoa tee it up on the LPGA tour. From a young age, Valdes wanted to be like her, so much so that she still calls Ochoa her biggest golf influence. The IJGA junior picked up clubs alongside her parents at the young age of five and still cites her father as the one who explained the game to her. Now, 18, Valdez, the first ever girl to win back-to-back Sea Pines Junior Heritage tournaments, is one of the most sought after college recruits who is verbally committed to Clemson University.
Name: Ana Paula Valdes
Graduation Year: 2016
Favorite food: Chik-Fil-A or Ice cream
Favorite TV show: Dexter or Criminal Minds
Favorite pro golfer(s): Lorena Ochoa & Rory McIlroy
Favorite non-golf athlete: Roger Federer
Favorite band: Maroon 5
Favorite movie(s): Avatar or Pitch Perfect
Q & A WITH VALDES:
What is your favorite golf memory?
Being able to play in Loren Ochoa’s last tournament before she retired, that was in 2010. I was the youngest player there.
How do you think your friends would describe your personality?
They would probably say I’m goofy, outgoing, or talkative.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Love what you do, do what you love.
What motivates you?
To be the best version of myself I can on and off the golf course.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on the golf course?
When I getting ready to tee off at the IJGA Invitational at Harbour Town Golf Links. Another IJGA student accidentally threw his club and it landed right in front of me, in the water.
What aspect of your game has improved the most this year?
Definitely my short game, especially chipping and bunker shots.
What are some of your favorite courses and why?
Très Marias, it’s my home course in Mexico and I love that it has 27 holes and was designed by Jack Nicklaus.
What are your goals for your future after the IJGA?
I am looking forward to playing college golf at Clemson but I also am looking forward to turning professional and playing on the LPGA tour.
What advice would you give other junior golfers or other people considering the IJGA?
I would tell anyone that the most important thing to do on a golf course is to have fun out there. Enjoy yourself and the scores will come.