Giving players choices: One of the reasons for creating the LPGA Tour Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was not only to provide players with an equitable and understandable pathway to LPGA Tour membership, but to also give amateur qualifiers the option to stay in school. College players who advance through Q-Series may either join the LPGA Tour immediately or delay turning professional until the end of June the following year.
Two prominent members of the 2019 rookie class, Maria and Jennifer Kupcho, deferred Tour membership until after this past spring’s then NCAA Championship.
One member of the rookie class of 2020, however, has chosen a different route.
On Tuesday, Albane Valenzuela announced on Instagram that she intends to turn professional immediately and begin her career on the LPGA Tour early in 2020.
“As a result of the opportunities that were given to me through my Q-Series (finish) and the possibility of returning to the Olympics, I am thrilled to start a new chapter in my life and pursue my longtime aspiration of playing on Tour,” Valenzuela wrote. “My decision to leave the Stanford Golf Team has been one (of) the most difficult I have had to make in my career. Stanford has been the greatest gift I have ever received as it has taught me lessons that go beyond the classroom and pitch…
“The decision to pursue professional golf is not abandoning what I was fortunate enough to experience at Stanford University,” she continued. “Instead, it is precisely what I have learned at Stanford in the past three years that (has) convinced me to embrace this moment.
“I will always be a lifelong Stanford Cardinal and a proud member of the Stanford Women’s Golf Team…And today, I am thrilled to embark on the new journey in life that is professional golf.”