Stanford sophomore Albane Valenzuela
(Stanford Athletics Photo)
RANCHO MIRAGE, CA (March 29, 2018) - Stanford sophomore Albane Valenzuela shot a 1-under 71 to lead a talented group of four amateurs making the cut at the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club.
Valenzuela had an attention-getting 67 in the first round to place her 4th, and at 6 under is still in the top 10 at the halfway point of the first women's professional major of the season.
The Switzerland resident has proven to be comfortable playing at the highest level, having made the cut in this event two years ago. She has also competed in several Ladies European Tour events and represented her country in the 2016 Olympic Golf Tournament. She was the runner-up in last year's U.S. Amateur and Ladies European Championship.
Rose Zhang, a 14-year-old from Irvine, CA who won last week's ANA Junior Inspiration to earn the final spot in this week's field, shot rounds of 72-70 to sit in a tie for 34th with two rounds to go. She is tied with 15-year-old Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, who won the inaugural Asia-Pacific Women's Championship earlier this year, and also won a professional event on the Ladies European Tour last year. Thitikul has shot two straight rounds of 71.
The fourth amateur to make the cut is one of the hottest golfers in college golf right now. Lilia Vu (Fountain Valley, CA) of UCLA has won four tournaments this season, including all three she has played this spring. Vu started slowly with a 73, but added a 70 to sit in a tie for 41st and get the chance to play the weekend.
Lucy Li (Redwood City, CA), who made the cut last year's ANA Inspiration as a 14-year-old, missed the cut by a single stroke after a 76 in round two. Reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion Sophia Schubert (Oak Ridge, TN) missed the cut by four and Maria Fassi (Mexico), who has won five tournaments this year as a member of the University of Arkansas women's golf team, missed by seven.
Round 2 Amateur Leaderboard
67-71=138 (T8) Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland)
72-70=142 (T34) Rose Zhang (Irvine, CA)
71-71=142 (T34) Atthaya Thitikul (Thailand)
73-70=143 (T41) Lilia Vu (Fountain Valley, CA)
70-76=146 (MC) Lucy Li (Redwood City, CA)
76-73=149 (MC) Sophia Schubert (Oak Ridge, TN)
77-75=152 (MC) Maria Fassi (Mexico)
ROUND ONE RECAP
A year ago Stanford sophomore Albane Valenzuela was supposed to play in the ANA Inspiration but shortly before the event she was involved in a car crash forcing her to withdraw. On Thursday Valenzuela proved that good things happen to those who wait.
Playing in her sixth career major, Valenzuela tore apart the Dinah Shore Tournament Course firing a 5-under 67 that leaves her in a tie for fourth and just two off the pace being set by Pernilla Lindberg at 7-under.
After a par to start her round, the native of Switzerland poured in consecutive birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 to reach 2-under and from there she never looked back. Birdies on 10 and 11 followed to move her to 4-under and even after a slip up on the 13th she was unfazed birdieing the next two holes to reach 5-under.
Looking to get to the house on the front page of the leaderboard, Valenzuela did bogey the 16th before rebounding with a closing birdie, her seventh of the day on the par-5 18th.
An Olympian in 2016, Valenzuela said of her round, "I just play my game, stay in my own bubble, and try not to focus to much on what's going on around me."
Other Amateurs in the Field
Lucy Li (T20; -2)
Atthaya Thitikul (T36; -1)
Rose Zhang (T56; E)
Lilia Vu (T73; +1)
Sophia Schubert (T106; +4)
Maria Fassi (T109; +5)
Editor's Note: Golfweek and the LPGA contributed to this story
ABOUT THE ANA Inspiration
First women's professional major of the year,
ANA Inspiration (formerly the Kraft Nabisco)
Championship draws more than
of the best women professional golfers in the
world, as well as the top-ranked amateurs in the
View Complete Tournament Information