Stanford’s Valenzuela Changes Mind, Turns Pro

Albane Valenzuela indicated that she probably would return to Stanford for the Spring Season and to get her degree after she tied for sixth in the LPGA Q-Series earlier this month to earn her playing card on the LPGA Tour for next season.

However the 21-year-old Valenzuela, a senior from Switzerland, has changed her mind and announced that she is turning pro.

“I am excited to announce my decision to turn professional and accept my LPGA status for the 2020 season,” Valenzuela said in a post on Instagram. “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.

“ … 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, the No. 2-ranked women’s amateur in the world, tied for 21st in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and hopes to make the Swiss team again for the Olympics next year in Tokyo.

Among her eight victories as an amateur, Valenzuela captured the 2014 Swiss International Championship, the 2014 Bulgarian Amateur Open and the 2015 Spanish International Stroke Play Championship, and at Stanford won the 2017 NCAA Albuquerque Regional and the 2019 Pacific 12 Conference Championship.

Valenzuela also finished second in the 2017 and 2019 U.S. Amateurs, was low amateur in the 2016 ANA Inspiration and made the cut in the 2016 U.S. Open. She has posted three top-10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour.

Although she won’t be playing golf for Stanford, Valenzuela said she plans to finish work on her degree in time to graduate with her class next spring.

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