Tag Archives: Laurel Hill

Local Golfer Takes Aim at Playing in U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship

Jackson Lizardo, a graduate of Oakton High School and current sophomore at Niagara University, hopes to qualifiy for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club.

Jackson Lizardo, a graduate of Oakton High School and current sophomore at Niagara University, hopes to qualifiy for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club this July.

This July, elite amateur golfers from around the country will gather in southern Fairfax County to compete in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club. Along with the honor of raising the James D. Standish Trophy, the winner of the 88th and penultimate meeting of this historic championship will receive an invitation to play in the prestigious Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Several golfers have launched successful professional careers from the tee boxes of past championships, including Brandt Snedeker who won at New Jersey’s Blue Heron Pines Golf Course in 2003 and is currently ranked fifth best in the world. This is what golfers are really playing for at the APL; a chance to make a name for themselves and to earn a spot on the PGA Tour.

Jackson Lizardo, 18, a sophomore on the Niagara University golf team, has always dreamed of becoming a professional golfer. He has been playing competitively for 10 years and, based on his accomplishments thus far, his goal to play professionally is within reach. Lizardo won the Burke Lake Junior Golf Club Championship at age 11. Since then, he has won a number of events on the Middle Atlantic PGA Junior Tour, the Plantations Junior Tour, and the Capital Area Golf Tour. Lizardo played four years of high-school golf, the final two as team captain, and recently tied for “Low American” in a Canadian PGA qualifying event in Saskatchewan. In addition to his triumphs in competitive play, he has aced three hole-in-ones in his young career.This year’s APL provides the opportunity for Lizardo to realize his dream, but first he has to qualify for the event. Lizardo will play a round at Clustered Spires Golf Course in Frederick, Maryland next month, one of 71 qualifying sites around the country. He feels that shooting a pair of 70s will be sufficient to be included in the field of 156 competitors at Laurel Hill. “While just qualifying for the event would be a great accomplishment and honor, I hope to have the fortune and blessings to use it as a springboard to even bigger events,” he said.


Laurel Hill Golf Club is built on land that formerly housed the D.C. Department of Corrections facility at Lorton.

Laurel Hill Golf Club is built on land that formerly belonged to the D.C. Department of Corrections facility at Lorton.


As a Fairfax County native, Lizardo has the advantage of familiarity with Laurel Hill’s challenging layout. At the South County Stallion Invitational in 2010, he finished tied for third with a score of 73. And while home from college on spring break, he didn’t miss an opportunity to practice at the course. While Lizardo considers the entire course fantastic, his favorite hole is the fifth, which is typically set as a long par four during USGA events. “The challenge and the picturesque layout of the hole, along with the risk-reward option it presents make it a very enjoyable hole,” he said.

Lizardo is counting on support from family and friends in his quest to play in the APL. One person whose support he can count on is his father, Tom, who served as the head coach of Robinson Secondary’s golf team until last year and runs the Capital Area Golf Tour, a regional tour for junior golfers.  He describes watching Jackson’s rise from playing Fairfax County’s par three courses to national and international events as a “blessing and a wonderful experience.” The elder Lizardo is confident that if his son puts in the effort he has the ability to qualify for and contend at this year’s APL.

Through his hard work and dedication to improvement, Lizardo’s goal of competing at the APL is tantalizingly close. He feels that as long as he maintains a positive attitude and a high level of confidence he will play well enough at Clustered Spires to qualify for the event. If he qualifies, will the hometown kid win the 2013 APL? Lizardo says, “One of the great things about golf is that anyone can break through and move up the ranks to become a great player. I figure I’ve come this far, so there’s no reason to stop now.”

Written by Matthew Kaiser, deputy public information officer

Laurel Hill Golf Club is seeking volunteers for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. Opportunities include walking scorers, forecaddies, and standard bearers. Volunteers receive a commemorative shirt and hat, as well as a complimentary meal and a free round of golf for each shift worked. To sign up, complete the online application. Enter event code 2013APL when prompted.

Editor’s note: Tom Lizardo is a member of the fundraising committee for the 2013 APL at Laurel Hill.

Get Wild In The Parks This Summer!

Each July, the National Recreation and Park Association invites park and recreation agencies from across the country to join them in celebrating Park and Recreation Month. In support of this year’s theme, GET WILD, we will share our ideas for ways you can get wild in the parks this summer. Throughout the month, you’ll find new ideas posted on Facebook, Twitter, and on this blog, and we hope that you will share your ideas with us, too.

From sending your child to summer camp during Wild About Water Week to taking a wild ride down the twin waterslides at the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole, there are many ways to get wild in the parks. For thrill-seeking naturalists, the new Extreme Adventures program at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is your chance to explore the park’s wild outback for stream monsters such as Hellgrammites, water scorpions, and water snakes, as well as poisonous plants and lethal predators in the forest.

An elephant from the Reston Zoo bathed in Lake Fairfax in 1986.

Speaking of wild animal sightings, did you know that elephants from the Reston Zoo used to cool off in Lake Fairfax, or that black bears have been seen in Riverbend Park? While not quite as wild as elephant and bear sightings, keep an eye out for photos of Buddy the Wolf, Rec-PAC’s wild mascot, as he visits camp sites with his anti-bullying message.

Getting wild can be joining a fast-paced Zumba class at a RECenter, hiking the Cross-County Trail, or riding the mountain bike trails at Laurel Hill. To get wild on the water, head to Riverbend Park or our lakefront parks to launch a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat. Getting wild doesn’t always require working up a sweat. Take a stroll along the newly refurbished boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park to look for an amazing array of dragonflies, or wander the manicured paths at Green Spring Gardens to see what’s in bloom. If music drives you wild, find your favorite venue to enjoy free concerts from our Summer Entertainment Series

The point is to get off the couch, get out of the office, and get wild in Fairfax County parks. It’s summer, so make the most of it!

Written by Matthew Kaiser, deputy public information officer.