The final individual in our series on top returning players to the Symetra Tour in 2018 is Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois), who spent two years playing collegiately at Northwestern University, before finishing up at the University of Virginia.
In her rookie season last year, Szokol finished No. 16 on the Race for the Card money list, having earned $45,058 across 19 events.
“I specifically learned that I need to have balance,” said Szokol. “I need to make sure that I get in an adequate amount of practice and time at the gym to feel prepared for each week, but I also need to know my limits. Additionally, I need time away from the golf course.”
For Szokol, it’s all about what she calls, “proper balance.” From diligent preparation to having dinner with friends, she enters year two on the Symetra Tour with a vast array of experience in this department.
Establishing a comfortability and familiarity at each stop on Tour allows Szokol to be prepared for any situation. It is something she demonstrated over time last season and the numbers don’t lie. Szokol earned one top-10 in her first eight events, compared to four top-10 finishes over her final eight tournaments.
“My rookie year was definitely a learning experience. By the end of the year, I felt more comfortable with the structure of every week, such as balancing practice days, practice rounds, and Pro-Am events,” Szokol said. “I also feel more comfortable having played most of the courses, having a better understanding of the travel each week, and learning what works best for me in terms of routines for each day.”
Her best finish in 2017 came at the Four Winds Invitational, where Szokol tied for second. It just so happens that playing in the final group on Sunday in that event, as well as in the Guardian Championship, was the on-course highlights for Szokol in her rookie campaign.
In order to get back to playing in the final group on the final day of a tournament, it has been a devotion to finding consistency during the off-season.
“I am working on a few swing changes to have more reliable ball flight every week, and I’m also working on my putting,” said Szokol. "Physical fitness has been a big focus. For years I have struggled with knee issues, and the demands of playing every week took a toll on my knees. Feeling healthy and prepared to play every week is very important.”
The work she has put in has also led to a more refined set of goals for 2018.
“Be more consistent, learn from the positives and negatives of each week, and have a more positive mindset so I can quickly forget about bogeys, or bad rounds,” Szokol said. “These are smaller goals for 2018 that will hopefully lead to finishing in the top-10 and accomplishing my ultimate goal of earning a LGPA card.”
With a year under her belt, she’ll use it as her guide this season. You’ll want to keep an eye on Szokol as she continues to push the limits of success.
“I had a good rookie year and am happy with what I learned, but my goals were to get top-10 and win a tournament,” said Szokol. “I still want to accomplish those goals. My approach to every week will be different, as I have learned what structure each week has worked best for me.”