Victoria Morgan has never had it easy in her golf career. At Polytechnic, the Pasadena native fought for a spot on the varsity boys’ golf team because the school did not have a girls’ program at the time. The former Panther prevailed and was named captain and the team’s most valuable player as a senior in 2012.
Morgan continued to play collegiately at USC as a walk-on and battled to keep her spot on a talented squad. She helped the Trojans reach the NCAA Championships semifinals last spring as a senior and was selected to the All-Pac-12 first team and earned a WGCA All-American honorable mention.
The struggle continues for the former Panther, who will be competing in her ninth Symetra Tour tournament today in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Morgan is fighting for the opportunity to join the LPGA Tour.
“There’s a tournament pretty much every week,” said Morgan. “Most rookies won’t play every single event, but I’m trying to do that for the rest of the year. I got right after nationals and have played every single event. It’s just a lot of traveling.”
The Symetra Tour is a developmental tour for professional women golfers. The top 10 qualifiers from the LPGA Qualifying Tournament earn a promotion, as well as an additional 12 athletes.
The road to the LPGA began in March, and Morgan did not start until she concluded her redshirt senior season at USC. The Four Winds Invitational was her first competition and she finished tied for 27th place. Morgan has participated in eight tournaments so far and has made the cut in six of those competitions.
Not bad for an athlete who wasn’t serious about golf until high school.
“When I started playing with the boys’ team at Poly, I really put the time in and practiced at Brookside Golf Course with my coach there,” Morgan said. “In order to play with the guys, I had to step up my game.”
The thought of playing golf in college did not cross Morgan’s mind until her senior year. She was accepted by USC because of her grades and tried out for the team at the recommendation of Trojans women’s golf coach Andrea Gaston.
“School was always first for me,” Morgan said. “Golf was further down the list for me. When I got to orientation, Andrea Gaston came up to me and asked if I wanted to walk on. I had to go through a formal tryout. Even then, I still didn’t even know of professional golf. I had not aspirations of doing that.”
Morgan, a lifelong USC fan, was the team’s motivator in 2012-13. She didn’t see any action on the course but quickly learned that she was going to have to work harder than ever before to keep up with her teammates.
“We ended up winning the championship during my redshirt year,” Morgan recalled. “I knew I needed to make some changes if I wanted to stay on the team.”
She began working out and practiced three hours every morning before class. Morgan would then go to Annandale Golf Club in the afternoon on her own to work with her swing coach.
Morgan didn’t officially compete with the Trojans until her second year. Injuries to other players paved the way for the former Poly standout to show her coaches how hard she had been working.
“I guess I ended up impressing them because of how I played under pressure,” she said. “I stayed pretty calm during tense moments, and that’s something coaches look for in a golfer.”
The following year, Morgan competed in five events as a Trojan and continued to show improvement.
Morgan began to show her potential in her fourth season, helping USC win at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate and March Mayhem tournaments.
As a redshirt senior, the Pasadena golfer broke out and helped the Trojans qualify for the NCAA final for a 20th consecutive season.
“It wasn’t until my senior year when things started to click,” Morgan said. “I ended up paired against the Pac-12 champion from the year before. Coming to the final hole, I needed to tie and ended up tying the hole and qualified the team.”
Morgan continues to show great promise as a professional, being ranked No. 62 in total earnings despite having missed half of the season. She has accumulated $9,853 in eight events.
“It’s been tough, but I’m still going out there to meet my goals,” she said. “I’m pretty optimistic about how things are looking. It’s fun, and I’ve never traveled in the Midwest before in my life. There are lots of tournaments here.”
Every Monday, Morgan and her USC teammate Gabriella Then travel to the next city hosting the tournament and stay with a host family in the area. After the competition in South Dakota this weekend, the two professionals will travel to Garden City, Kansas to compete in the Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes. There are four more tournaments before all golfers close out the season at the Symetra Tour Championship from Oct. 5-8 at Daytona Beach.