Valenzuela, Chang, Lee Earn LPGA Cards

Stanford teammates Albane Valenzuela and Andrea Lee, along with Jennifer Chang of USC, were three of four amateurs among 40 golfers who earned their LPGA Tour cards in the 2019 LPGA Q-Series at Pinehurst No. 6 and No. 9 www.pinehurstgolf in Pinehurst, N.C.

Valenzuela (pictured), a senior from Switzerland, led the amateurs in a tie for sixth at 71-73-69-70-69-69-71-73—565 7-under-par, while Chang, a junior from Cary, N.C., tied for ninth at 74-69-70-68-71-68-72-75—567, and Lee, a senior from Hermosa Beach, tied for 30th at 72-70-72-67-71-74-77-72—575.

“I played some really good golf,” said Valenzuela, who won the 2018 East Lake Cup individual title and a 2016 NCAA Regional crown, in addition to being runner-up in the U.S. Amateur twice. “I only had two rounds over par, 1- and 2-over, and then the rest were par or better. So I was very consistent. I didn’t make any doubles.

“So, you know, I think it just showed that I was very steady and patient. I’m just happy that my game was good for three weeks. I’ve never played actually three weeks in a row, so this was really a first. So just feels great to pull the it out at the right time.”

Bianca Pagdanganan, a graduate of the University of Arizona from the Philippines, was the other amateur to earn her LPGA card for next season, tying for 38th at 74-74-72-70-72-64-72-78—576.

Chang has decided to turn pro immediately, but Valenzuela and Lee, who holds the Stanford record with nine tournament titles, might return to Stanford for the Spring season before joining the LPGA Tour sometime next season.

“It’s so special,” said Chang, who claimed three victories at USC. “I mean, the amount of support that I have back home, it really helps. It really boosts my confidence up. I mean, I’m so grateful for my family and friends to be here. Yeah, I’m just so happy.”

Valenzuela wants to earn her Stanford degree and hopes to play for Switzerland in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Muni He of China captured medalist honors with a score of 69-70-67-69-65-70-71-70—551, followed by Hee Young Park of South Korea at 68-70-71-70-67-66-72-70—554, and 18-year-old Yealimi Noh of Concord, who passed on a UCLA scholarship to turn pro, at 69-69-66-77-67-69-72—557.

“I’m excited to play and have chances to win,” said Noh, who passed on a scholarship from UCLA to turn pro. “I’m just really happy to be out there, when I’m going to be out there. I’m just excited.

“I (couldn’t) get too excited until it’s over. So after I hit my second shot (on the last hole), which is over the water—after I hit my second on the green and close, too, I was like—and I had mud on my ball, too. Yeah. I was like, ‘Oh, if I go in the water this is not cool.’ Just going on the green and finally being able to breathe.”

Lauren Kim, a Stanford graduate from Los Altos, finished eighth at 68-66-72-72-74-71-71-72—566.

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