It’s been a long four years for Gillian Galicia.
The Liberty senior took the course during her first high school tournament and shot a 73 — on the first nine holes at Buena Vista Golf Course.
Four years later she returned to Buena Vista to play in the Patriot Open. This time she shot a 73 during an 18-hole round.
And that’s just the beginning of her resume.
Galicia won four tournaments this year and six in her career. She averaged a 79.4 per round in her senior season, and will play college golf at Cal State Bakersfield.
Because of her effort and the corresponding results, she's been named 2018 BVarsity All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year.
Galicia harkened back to those early days as a golfer, and marveled at how far her game has come since she began playing the sport just before her freshman year.
“I didn’t know what a par was, or a birdie,” she said. “I think I only knew what a driver was.”
Galicia said after her first tournament at Buena Vista — the infamous 73 through nine — she told her dad she wouldn’t return to the course.
Her father wasn't having that attitude, however, and Gillian would in fact go back only to develop a tenacious work ethic in the process. In turn, in large part because of that commitment — a stringent practice schedule that sees her out on the course during her free time in the scorching Bakersfield heat — she’s improved dramatically.
“Gillian won Player of the Year because she got what she deserved,” said Liberty coach Tony Mills. “She has such a great work ethic. Usually, when you work hard, you get what you deserve. And she displayed that during her golfing career at Liberty.”
It culminated in this year’s Patriot Open, when she fired a 73 at Buena Vista to take home the tournament title. Galicia parred 10 straight holes to close out the round.
“I wasn’t even paying attention to the score. I was just thinking, next shot,” she said.
“It was just one of those rounds for me that’s always going to stick out.”
Galicia pushed and pushed throughout her high school career in pursuit of a college scholarship.
She recently committed to CSUB after talking with coach Meghan Thomason and visiting the campus.
Galicia is excited about continuing to develop her game in Bakersfield and staying close to her mom and dad — “I definitely couldn’t have done it without them,” she said.
Galicia added her short game needs improvement — chipping and then one-putting once on the green. She’s also considering a major in kinesiology.
“It’s definitely surreal. Ever since I started playing competitive sports, whether it was softball or golf, college was definitely the main focal point for me. It was always a goal,” she said.
“This is the direction I need to go in. Getting that scholarship was just the cherry on top.”