Stanford senior Albane Valenzuela announced Tuesday that she will forego the rest of her senior seasons and begin her professional golf career immediately. She plans to remain at Stanford as a student and complete her degree in political science in the spring.
Valenzuela is the No. 2 player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and was the 2018-19 Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Year. The Academic All-American had this to say about her decision:
“I am excited to announce my decision to turn professional and accept my LPGA status for the 2020 season. As a result of the opportunities that were given to me through my Q-Series 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.
"My decision to leave the Stanford golf team has been one 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. I have learned new definitions of what teamwork, friendship, and dedication look like based on my experience as a part of this program; invaluable lessons that have prepared me to take on this next step in my journey.
"The decision to pursue professional golf is not abandoning what I was fortunate enough to experience at Stanford University. Instead, it is precisely what I have learned at Stanford in the past three years that have convinced me to embrace this moment. It was at Stanford where I was taught and inspired by pacesetting intellectuals and world-changing entrepreneurs to have the courage to direct my life with dedication and passion. I have been an aspiring student-athlete stepping in the footprints of giants that have contributed to Stanford’s legacy; it is finally my moment to carve my own path.
"I am eternally thankful for my teammates, my coach, Anne Walker, my assistant coaches Lauren Dobashi and Maddie Sheils and all of the people that have made my Stanford experience so unique. I could have never asked for a better place to pursue my academic and athletic endeavors and will continue to proudly represent our colors for the rest of my career.
"I will always be a lifelong Stanford Cardinal and a proud member of the Stanford women’s golf team. I will miss being part of this team that I call family but will always be there to support them and hope to remain a positive influence for our program.
"And today, I am thrilled to embark on the new journey in life that is professional golf.”
Valenzuela finished 7-under following eight rounds of the Q-Series to finish sixth overall (of a field of 98) and was the top amateur.
Former Stanford standout Lauren Kim followed in eighth. Cardinal senior Andrea Lee placed 30th overall. The top 45 receive LPGA status.
Former Cardinal golfer Casey Danielson finished in a tie for 62nd.