Wes Liu of Westfield High School

March 6, 2010 by  

We recently had the opportunity to interview Wes Liu, a senior and a member of the golf team at Westfield High School in Chantilly, VA.  Westfield’s golf team, coached by Tim Vigotsky, won every tournament in sight this golf season, including the Virginia AAA State Championship.  Wes is a very consistent player that contributed a great deal to the success of the team this year.  Individually, Wes has done well also, including qualifying for the Junior World Championship in 2008.  And, culminating this year’s success, Wes has signed to play golf with George Mason University in the fall. 

Wes, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Your time is appreciated.

First, congratulations on your season, both individually and as a team member on the current AAA State Champions. Looking back at your stats through the District, Regional and then State tournaments, you played very consistent golf and provided the foundation for your team this year. And, to top it all off, you’ve signed a National Letter of Intent to play golf at George Mason University in the fall, which has to be a great feeling.

Thank you, winning the AAA State Championship and signing with George Mason were both very special moments for me in the past year. It’s a great feeling to know that I will have the opportunity to play golf on the collegiate level in the near future.

Many may not know about this, but the weekend before the State Championship, you got very ill. Describe a little about that weekend and leading into the tournament.

Well, at the end of our first practice round on Saturday, I began to feel a little funny. Later that night, I began showing some flu-like symptoms. The next morning was really bad; I could not get myself out of bed to make the mid-morning tee time for our second practice round. I spent the entire Sunday resting and preparing myself mentally for the next two days. I was a little worried. I didn’t know how my physical condition was going to affect my game.

After the 1st round at the State, what goals did you as a player set for the 2nd round?

After shooting 79 during the first round, I was a little disappointed. However, I ended my round with two birdies, which was something I knew I could build on. My goals for the next day were to stay positive and to just “play my own game”. I knew if I could do these two things everything else would be okay.

Obviously, winning the State Championship is a huge accomplishment – what do you consider to be the top two or three highlights in your junior golf career?

Some of the highlights in my junior golf career include qualifying for both the Virginia State Open and the State Amateur. Also, representing Virginia in the VSGA junior State matches and winning numerous times on the Plantations Junior Golf Tour.  Although these are very special, none of them compare to qualifying for the Junior World Championships. Competing in the Junior World Championships (in 2008) was definitely the biggest highlight in my junior golf career. It was also the most memorable because I had the privilege to play Torrey Pines just two weeks after the U.S. Open had ended there.

Is there anything you would like to publicly say to your team members and coach?

Yeah, I would like to congratulate my team members and Coach Vigotsky again and thank them for another great year.  It was definitely one to remember. I also want to wish the rest of the team members the best of luck in their upcoming years in college.

Please tell us how you got started playing golf?

My dad is the main reason why I began playing golf. When I was younger, my dad would bring me to the driving range while he was taking lessons from his instructor. As he was attending his lesson, I would be on the mat next to him hitting balls. I believe this was when I began to develop an interest for the game.

Is there one area in your game that you feel is stronger than the others?

I don’t think that any one part of my game is significantly stronger than the others. I play my best when my wedges are working well. So if I had to pick which part of my game is best it would have to be my wedge play.

Can you tell us what your approach is to recovering from a poor shot?

After a poor shot, I try to forget about it as quickly as possible and focus on the next shot coming up. The next shot after making a poor swing is very important because it most likely will determine the outcome of the hole. Usually I say to myself, “hey, you made a bad swing, but that’s okay, par is still not out of the picture just yet”.  The most important thing for me is to stay positive and not to get down on myself.

Are you on a set routine as far as practice is concerned during the week? And if so, does this routine differ between tournament weeks and non-tournament weeks?

Well, I try to make it out to practice at least a few hours every day, as time or weather permits. During my practice sessions, I normally start out on the putting green, and then I move to the range and then finish by practicing more short game. If there is any part of my game I feel that needs to be worked on, I will dedicate more time to practicing that specific part. As far as tournaments weeks, I try to not tire myself out. I usually go to the range for a short period of time, focusing on the basics and fundamentals.

What do you do in the winter months? We hear that some players just don’t pick up a club until early spring, some take the opportunity to work on strength and conditioning and others practice golf all through the winter. Which are you?

Personally, I fall in between these categories. I do a little bit of everything. I normally take the first month off after the season and then a few days off every now and then. During the winter, I work on some simple practice drills at home such as swinging in my garage and using the putting arc in my basement. I mainly focus my efforts on improving my short game. I also use this time to condition and strengthen myself for the upcoming year.

Do you have a teacher and if so, how often do you see him or her?

Yes, I work with John O’Leary, my instructor at Pleasant Valley Golf Course. During the season I have a lesson once a week.

What about the mental part of the game? Do you do anything special? Read books? See a sports psychologist?

As far as the mental side of the game, I usually just reflect on my own tournament experiences. If I have any difficult issues, I talk to one of my coaches.

What are your plans as they relate to golf between now and entering George Mason in the fall?

My plan this year is pretty similar to the past years. I plan to compete in many state-wide tournaments. The only difference is I will be playing in a lot more amateur events since I am no longer eligible for some junior ones.

“Get to Know Wes”

What’s the most-played song on your iPod?

I don’t really have a most played song; I normally just put it on shuffle and let it run. A good song can be ruined if it is overplayed.

Favorite school subject?

Math, I have always been good with math skills.

Do you play any other sports?

No, golf is the only sport I play.

Any ideas on what your major will be?

I haven’t made up my mind quite yet; however, I am leaning towards either law or economics.

Brothers? Sisters?

None, I’m an only child.

Favorite golfer? 

 Tiger Woods, even with all the controversy going on, he is still my favorite player.

Favorite Golf Course?

Torrey Pines South

Course you have never played but would like to?

Augusta National

Last book you read not related to school? 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Favorite movie?

Anything from the American Pie Series.

Any pets?

None at the moment.

Where do you see yourself in six years?

I am hoping that I will be able to play golf professionally

WHAT’S IN THE BAG?

Driver: Callaway FT-9

Fairway Woods: Titleist 904 15° and two Titleist 585 hybrids 19° and 24°

Irons: 2009 Callaway X-Tour

Wedges: Cleveland CG 12 52° and a Vokey Spin Milled 58°

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Special markings on your ball?

I put a single black line across the Pro V1x print.

Do you have any final words that you would like to add? Especially for all the junior players that will be reading this?

To those junior golfers who want to continue to play in college, just work very hard and never give up. Determination and a positive attitude will bring you great success in the game.

Wes, thanks again for your time and good luck in the coming years.

Thanks. This was great.

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