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Alison Lee to play at LPGA Q-School

The Valencia grad may turn pro end end her college career early

Posted: July 4, 2014 4:02 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2014 4:02 p.m.

Valencia graduate and UCLA golfer Alison Lee will participate in LPGA Q-School this fall, meaning she may turn pro in 2015.

 

The writing was on the wall for UCLA golfer and Valencia High graduate Alison Lee.

After a freshman season for the ages with the Bruins, Lee announced this week that she’ll be making a run at the professional ranks.

She’ll be participating in LPGA Qualifying School beginning later this summer, at the end of which she’ll have a chance to earn a spot on the world’s top pro golf tour.

It would also mean her career at UCLA would be finished early.

Lee’s message to her school was: It’s not you, it’s me.

“I feel like my game is ready and I feel like I’m ready to move on and play professional golf and compete with LPGA players so I feel that Q-School this year seemed appropriate,” the 19-year-old said on Friday.

She said she was torn on the decision because she wants to enjoy her college experience and finish her degree.

But given how much success she’s had at the amateur level this past year, all signs seemed to point to Q-School.

Lee was voted as both the Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association national Freshman of the Year. She also won the inaugural ANNIKA Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate female golfer.

Lee won three individual tournaments this season — including the Pac-12 title — and she set a school record with a season scoring average of 71.0. In addition to college competition, she also earned an exemption to compete in the Kraft Nabisco Championship —an LPGA major championship — and she helped the US team win the international Curtis Cup played against Great Britain and Ireland.

All this has put Lee at No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

“It really showed me that I have the ability to compete on tour and I’ve played really well in college golf,” Lee said of her freshman season. “It just showed me that I’m really ready to compete with the top professional golfers, and that’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was really young.”

Q-School is a three-stage process that begins in August and ends in early December.

Eventually, the field will be whittled down to a select number of players who will earn full LPGA status for the 2015 season.

Others will earn status on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental circuit. Lee said she’ll only turn pro if she makes it to the LPGA.

She also said she’ll continue attending classes and competing in events for UCLA during Q-School.

“Alison is an accomplished player and an excellent student,” said UCLA head golf coach Carrie Forsyth, according to the school’s press release. “The compromise we arrived at will allow her to maximize her opportunities in golf, while still encouraging her continuing education and participation on the team. Many of the greatest collegiate players have taken a similar path.”

No matter what, Lee said she plans to earn a degree at UCLA.

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