Past Champ Sandra Gal and San Diego Native Beth Allen Ready For Kia Classic
March 13, 2017
The SCGA recently caught up with Kia Classic past champ Sandra Gal and San Diego native Beth Allen at Media Day. Two of the LPGA's most intriguing players look to kick off 2017 with solid performances at Aviara GC March 21-26.
Where does this golf course rank among the others you play throughout the year?
Sandra Gal: I think it’s one of the most beautiful. I love coming back here every year. From a difficulty perspective, it’s sneaky tricky. You have to have good spin control as a lot of the greens get soft. There are very subtle breaks on the greens and a ton of challenging tee shots too. It definitely ranks in the upper echelon of courses we play.
This is your first time back at the Kia Classic since 2010. Can you speak to the differences in your game between now and then?
Beth Allen: I was pretty young when I qualified the first time around and it was a difficult time for me as my dad passed away that year. Shortly after, the opportunity came to head over to Europe to play for a while, and that changed my life. I’m so glad I spent as much time as I did over there. Now the transition back to playing in the states will be interesting. That being said, coming back to San Diego is the perfect place to start because my mother and brother still live here so it’s a homely feel. The last time I played in Southern California was 2008, so all my family is super excited to come follow me around!
Since you first joined the Tour, can you speak to the evolution of the LPGA these past ten years?
SG: I feel very lucky to be a part of this. Every year I see such enormous growth. We have competitions that are getting deeper and increasing in quality. It’s amazing to be a part of this growth and it's great to see women in sports getting closer to the men every year.
Your father was the San Diego city golf manager. You obviously spent a lot of time growing up and playing courses in the area. What was his influence?
BA: Interestingly, he didn’t push me to play golf. I actually didn’t start playing until I was 15 years old. When I did finally start, he was obviously really excited but kept his hands off and let me teach myself at first. Once I started to improve, he was happy to step in for guidance. I was really lucky to have him in my life for so long. I really appreciate golf because of him and I’m grateful for that.
You're back on the Solheim Cup team this year and you'll be playing for Annika Sorrenstam. What's that going to be like having her as a captain?
SG: Well, we already had a team practice together. We played some holes and then split up into teams for a bunch of team sports that raised camaraderie. Annika is really on top of things, everything she does is 150 percent. She’s also super organized and putting a lot of effort into this so I'm beyond excited for this summer.
You had quite the season in 2016. How will you look to build on that momentum?
BA: It was the best year of my life. I also got married, so that helps. I’ve taken the road less traveled or never traveled for that matter, as far as American golfers go. Even though I'm coming back to the states for competitive purposes, I’m still planning to live in Europe and compete over there as well. I'm happy to be back here in Southern California for my 'welcome back' tournament, surrounded my friends and family.
Want to see Sandra and Beth and the rest of the world's best in San Diego? Click here to purchase tickets.