Albane Valenzuela opts to leave Stanford golf to live out LPGA dream

USGA/Steven Gibbons

Albane Valenzuela opts to leave Stanford golf to live out LPGA dream

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Albane Valenzuela opts to leave Stanford golf to live out LPGA dream

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Albane Valenzuela dreams of returning to the Olympics in 2020. It’s her ultimate goal, and therefore a major reason why she decided to forgo her final semester at Stanford to give herself the best chance of getting to Tokyo.

The qualification period for the Olympics ends June 29, 2020. Valenzuela hopes her new LPGA status helps her make the field of 60 players. She represented Switzerland in Rio de Janeiro before starting at Stanford in 2016 and tied for 21st.

“I think it would complete a great circle,” said Valenzuela of the possibility of returning to the Olympics on the heels of graduating from Stanford with a degree in political science.

Valenzuela told her coaches and teammates earlier this week of her decision to quit college golf. She was one of two Stanford seniors to earn LPGA status for the 2020 season at the recent Q-Series. While Valenzuela tied for sixth, teammate Andrea Lee took a share of 30th. Lee, who was recently the top-ranked amateur in the world, has yet to announce her decision.

Stanford is currently ranked fifth by Golfweek.

A two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur finalist, Valenzuela is currently No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. She has made the cut in numerous LPGA majors, recently earning low-amateur honors at the Evian Championship.

“My decision does not come from a place that I wanted to stop college golf,” said Valenzuela. “It was more about me and my aspirations as a professional golfer. My dream of going back to the Olympics.”

As a junior, Valenzuela was named the Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Year, the first in program history.

Of the five college players who teed it up at Q-Series, Valenzuela is the fourth to turn professional. She joins USC’s Jennifer Chang, Frida Kinhult of Florida State and Florida’s Sierra Brooks.

Last year the LPGA introduced the option to defer LPGA status to June so that players could participate in the postseason and still keep their cards. Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi were the first to choose that route. So far, no one has followed suit.

 

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