When LPGA changed its rules for the Q Series earlier this year by requiring amateurs to turn pro before entering the final stage of the tour’s qualifying school, many college coaches applauded the move. The new requirement, the coaches agreed, would convince more colleagues to stay in school rather than leave their teams mid-season.
On Sunday, five current Division I players progressed to the second phase of Q-School, each with a big decision to make: turn pro and keep chasing an LPGA card, or stay in college and still have the option to play as a amateur to compete. on the Epson Tour next year. Their decisions also had to be swift, as the delayed second leg departed just eight days before the start of the Q-Series; the UKTN would be Tuesday afternoon.
GolfChannel.com has learned that at least two players, Ashley Lau, a fifth-year senior from Michigan, and Nataliya Guseva, a sophomore from Miami, have opted to turn pro and officially compete in the Q-Series.
Lau, who is ranked No. 37 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was a two-time All-American for the Wolverines, including a first-teamer last season when she won three individual titles. For her career, Lau had four wins in 14 top-10s. She played in four of five tournaments this fall, missing a streak of 40 starts at Michigan.
Guseva was ranked #254 in WAGR and #77 in Golfstat.
Meanwhile, two top-50 amateurs remain amateur and rejoin their teams before the spring: Oregon junior Cynthia Lu and Georgia senior Jenny Bae.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play in LPGA Q-School stage I and II as it highlighted certain areas of my game that still need work before turning pro,” Lu told GolfChannel.com via text message . That said, I’ve decided to remain an amateur and postpone attending the Q-Series. I believe in Coach Derek [Radley] and Coach Monica [Vaughn], who will continue to help and support me until I make the decision to turn pro. I am so excited to play with my team this upcoming spring season.”
Lu is No. 35 in WAGR and last season was a first-team All-American. Bae currently ranks 45th in WAGR and fifth in Golfstat.
Michigan State’s Valery Plata is the other Division I player to make it out of the second phase, though GolfChannel.com is still awaiting confirmation of her decision.
The first half of the Q-Series begins Monday at Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama. The second 72 holes, awarded to the top 70 and tied, will compete for LPGA cards December 5-11 at Highland Oaks Golf Course in Dothan, Alabama.
The top 20 and peers earn Category 14 LPGA status, while the remaining finishers within the top 45 and peers earn Category 15 LPGA status.