Golf: Valerio makes early impact

December 30, 2010|By Bryce Alderton, Daily Pilot
(Courtesy of UC Irvine )

Ronnie Valerio figures it's not going to do any good to get mad after a bad shot or putt.

So she lets it go and moves on to the next one.

Born in Pasadena, Valerio began her trek in golf at age 7, when her parents took her to the range for the first time. Eleven years later, the 18-year-old Valerio was named the Big West Conference women's Golfer of the Month for November as a UC Irvine freshman.

In November she finished second by two shots in the seven-team Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational in Kahuku, Hawaii, at four-over-par 220 (73-74-73). She leads UCI in scoring average (74.75).

She tried a few sports growing up, including softball and karate. But when her father, Ron, and mother, Janet, took her to the range for the first time, she soon developed an affection toward golf. Golf was the one that "fit," Valerio said.


"I like the competitiveness [of golf]," Valerio said. "It's fun even when you're not playing competitively. It's calming."

Valerio, whose given name is Veronica, reached the CIF state individual championships as a freshman for Temecula Valley High. She placed second at the CIF Southern Section finals as a senior with a three-under 69 at Talega Golf Club in San Clemente.

Valerio considered UC Berkeley, Oklahoma State and Baylor, but chose to remain in Southern California for college.

"I'm a Cali girl," Valerio said.

Valerio has welcomed the competition, especially now in college.

"Everyone [in college] is more serious about the game," Valerio said. "We can all relate and help each other."

UCI Coach Julie Brooks said Valerio has handled the transition to college well and is level-headed.

"She is very humble, goes about her business and loves to play golf," Brooks said.

Brooks gave an example of Valerio's calm demeanor. She said Valerio comes up to her on the course and, instead of first asking for the hole's yardage or something related to golf, she'll ask if Brooks has any bananas. Or they might discuss dinner plans.

That laid-back personality is a trait Valerio said she's always had both on and off the course.

"I'm not too talkative or jumpy. I'm more relaxed," Valerio said.

But she acknowledges her not-so-calm moments as a child.

"When I was a kid, I'd get upset and cry if I had a bad game," Valerio said. "But my dad said there's no reason to cry. It's not going to make it any better."

UCI begins the winter/spring season Feb. 14 at the Northrop Grumman Challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles