The LPGA’s gain is college golf’s (massive) loss.
Reigning Player of the Year Alison Lee of UCLA shared medalist honors at LPGA Q-School and turned professional immediately.
Lee had the highest profile of the four college players who will join the play-for-pay ranks.
Also leaving school was Washington senior SooBin Kim (who tied for 11th) and freshman Jin Yang, who finished outside the top 20 but accepted conditional membership.
It’s a massive blow for the Huskies, who were No. 1 in Golfstat’s rankings following the fall season. Both players were ranked inside the top 15.
Oklahoma State’s Julie Yang had to turn pro just to be a part of the seven-for-three playoff. After failing to advance, she will accept conditional membership.
Lee, a sophomore ranked No. 3, said that she would attempt to juggle school and golf in 2015.
“We’ll see how it all plays out as the year goes on,” she told the LPGA.
The early departures may annoy college coaches, and weaken the NCAA field, but it comes with the territory. Coaches know the risks when they recruit the top talent from around the globe, knowing that it likely is not a four-year commitment.