Stanford's Andrea Lee is fifth college player to leave early, turn pro

Stanford's Andrea Lee. Stanford

Stanford's Andrea Lee is fifth college player to leave early, turn pro

LPGA Tour

Stanford's Andrea Lee is fifth college player to leave early, turn pro

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The most decorated golfer in Stanford history has decided to leave early.

Andrea Lee is now the second Stanford senior to quit before the spring season after earning her card at LPGA Q-Series, joining Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela.

Lee, who has topped both the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and World Amateur Golf Ranking, informed her teammates of the decision on Tuesday afternoon.

“I know the program is going to be taking a pretty big hit with both of us gone,” said Lee, who was still emotional about it when she called. “Honestly, I feel really sad about it, leaving my teammates and not giving us the best chance at possibility winning the national championship.”

The Cardinal ended the fall season ranked fifth by Golfweek. They would’ve once again been on the short list for title contenders at the NCAA Championship next spring. Stanford won its first NCAA title in 2015 when the championship moved to match play. The Cardinal advanced to the semifinals for four consecutive years before coming up short to Duke in the quarterfinals in 2019.

Lee won a program record nine tournaments at Stanford, collecting her most recent in dominating fashion with a 26-stroke victory at The Molly Intercollegiate.

“I cannot put my entire amateur career into words right now,” said Lee. “I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, not just with Stanford, but even before then in my high school days. I was pretty consistent at every level. I just feel that I’m ready to take the next step and compete at the professional level. It has been my lifelong dream since I was 5 years old.”

While Valenzuela tied for sixth at Q-Series and will get into plenty of events, Lee’s share of 30th means she’ll have to rely on sponsor exemptions and Monday-qualifying for many of the early-season starts.

Lee plans to graduate on time with a degree in Science, Technology and Society, so she’ll work her classes around the new job.

Five college players competed in Q-Series earlier this month and all five decided to turn professional rather than defer status and complete the college season. The two Stanford players are joined by Jennifer Chang of USC as well as Sierra Brooks of Florida and Florida State’s Frida Kinhult. Brooks and Kinhult will play on the Symetra Tour next year.

“It was really hard for sure,” said Lee of the decision. “I had people telling me to stay, people telling me to go. Ultimately, I chose to turn professional, knowing that it was the best decision for me and my career. Just trusting my own gut.”

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