2005: Lang says she’s ready to play for pay
Brittany Lang could have walked away from the U.S. Women’s Open with $335,000 in her pocket. Instead, she settled for a shiny silver medal and countless well wishes after sharing second place with fellow amateur Morgan Pressel.
Now, however, she’s ready for some cash.
Lang, 19, told Golfweek June 28 that she would turn professional at this week’s Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. The Duke All-American received sponsor exemptions from the Jamie Farr and BMO Canadian Women’s Open (July 14-17). Lang doesn’t have management or sponsors lined up yet, but says agents have made arrangements to visit her McKinney, Texas, home.
“I just feel comfortable out there, so I thought why not turn pro,” said Lang, who said she didn’t regret playing the Women’s Open as an amateur.
In two years at Duke, Lang won six tournaments and finished her sophomore season No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. Earlier this season, she missed the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship before tying for 15th at the LPGA Corning Classic. Lang carried that momentum to Cherry Hills, where she led the field in greens in regulation and ranked eighth in birdies. Only one player in the field (Lorie Kane) shot lower than Lang’s closing 71 on Sunday.
Lang decided to remain an amateur for the Open because eight weeks ago the State Farm Classic, to be played Sept. 1-4, agreed to give her one of its two amateur sponsor exemptions (the other was given to Pressel). It’s not yet known whether Lang will be able to keep the exemption now that she is a pro. Sandra Dehner-Wheeler, executive director of the State Farm Classic, said June 28 that a decision regarding the exemption would be made July 5, after discussions with the tournament board.
“We prefer to keep it among amateurs,” said Dehner-Wheeler. “We have a very full file of top amateurs who want in.”
Events such as the State Farm have caused several young players to believe they have a better chance of earning LPGA exemptions if they stay amateur. However, of 85 sponsor exemptions doled out in 2004, professionals received 49 sponsor exemptions compared to 36 for amateurs. This season, 30 spots have gone to pros and 29 to amateurs (through the Women’s Open).
Nonmembers are allowed six opportunities each season to play on the LPGA. If a player tries to Monday qualify for an event it counts toward the six, regardless if the player is successful or not.
In addition to playing Kraft Nabisco and Corning, Lang attempted to Monday qualify for the ShopRite LPGA Classic last month (she did not make it). With the Jamie Farr and Canadian Women’s Open in her plans, State Farm, if she gets in, would be her last chance to earn money toward an LPGA card. If the tournament does not allow her to keep her exemption, however, she could receive a spot in another event.
Lang would need to finish in the top 90 on the LPGA money list to avoid Q-School in the fall. A year ago, Stephanie Louden finished 90th in earnings with $102,457.
For the record, because Lang is not an LPGA member, any money she would have earned at the Women’s Open had she played as a professional would not have counted toward the LPGA money list.
But it still would’ve padded her savings account quite nicely.