2004: Blasberg leaves Arizona for pros

By Jay A. Coffin

South Hadley, Mass.

Erica Blasberg turned professional July 2 after the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open and will forgo her final two years at the University of Arizona. Blasberg is the third player to leave Arizona prior to graduation in the last three years, following Natalie Gulbis in 2001 and Lorena Ochoa in 2002.

“I’m ready to start playing golf for real, ready to get out of amateur golf,” said Blasberg, who shot 74-76 at The Orchards Golf Club and missed the cut by three shots. “I’m ready to try the pro life, at least attempt the pro life.”

The 19-year-old from Corona, Calif., struggled with the decision for the past 14 months after a freshman season in which she recorded seven top 10s and two victories. Blasberg earned NCAA Freshman of the Year honors and was ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek/ Sagarin College Rankings.

Her sophomore season, however, was not quite as successful. Although she won four times, Blasberg’s game was not as consistent and she ended the year ranked No. 3.

“We’re sad to see her go,” said Arizona coach Greg Allen. “But we wish her the best and hope she has a wonderful professional career.”

Blasberg’s professional debut was to be this week at the Stratton Mountain (Vt.) Futures Classic. She hopes to earn her LPGA exempt card through a top-5 finish on the Futures Tour money list.

If that doesn’t happen, she plans to head to LPGA Q-School in the fall.

Leigh Steinberg, a longtime agent known mostly for representing NFL quarterbacks, will represent Blasberg.

“She’s bright, attractive and can make an incredible impact on the links and off,” said Steinberg, whose only other golf client is 2003 Kraft Nabisco champion Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. “She has an upbeat and pleasing personality but plays with fire and passion. I think she can make a real impact on the tour.”

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