Valery Plata ties for third at Q-Series, earns full LPGA status
11 Dec 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com
see also: Valery Plata Rankings
Valery Plata (Michigan State photo)
It's been quite a three weeks for former Michigan State golfer Valery Plata.
Plata earned full playing status on the LPGA Tour for the 2023 season after tying for third with recent Stanford graduate Aline Krauter
at the LPGA Q-Series, a 144-hole grind spread out over two weeks in Alabama.
The 2021 Women's Amateur Latin America
champion entered this week's leg in 11th place after carding an 11-under par 275 last week with scores of 73-66-67-69. She followed a 5-under 67 on Thursday with three consecutive rounds of 3-under 69 to finish at 25-under 549 for the 154-hole Q-Series to comfortably earn her tour card for next season.
"I'm still kind of in a daze to realize that this dream of mine is now a reality," Plata said. "This is just the start of the journey and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm proud of myself and so thankful for all of the people who have supported me along the way, especially my family and my long-time coach (Pedro Russi).
"Coming to Michigan State was a big part of my journey and I can't thank Stacy (Slobodnik-Stoll) and the coaches for their guidance, not only on the course as a golfer, but for me as a person and as a student. My teammates are some of my best friends and their texts and messages these last two weeks meant the world to me. I'm a Spartan for Life and can't wait to represent MSU on the LPGA Tour."
Plata, who played her final semester with the Spartans this year, turned professional late last month while she played in the first round of the LPGA Q-Series.
"We are thrilled for Valery," MSU Head Coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said. "This has been a dream of hers since she came to Michigan State five years ago and it's an incredible feeling to see her not only earn full status on the LPGA Tour in her first try, but also putting herself in a position to win Q Series."
"Valery has been a treasure for our program, our donors, alumni and our University since she stepped on campus. It's a testament to her hard work to see her reach this level. Her teammates are so happy for her as well as Spartan nation who has followed her career and supported her. We will miss her, but Valery will forever be a Spartan."
Plata, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur in 2020 and the round of 32 in 2021, had an incredible summer in 2022. In addition to tying for second place in the first leg of the LPGA Q Series in California, she played in three professional events, the AIG Women's Open in Scotland, the Amundi Evian Championship in France and in the Meijer Classic.
Earning category 15 status were reigning Thailand Women's Amateur Open champion Natthakritta Vongtaveela
who tied for 28th at 14-under 560, while former Oregon and Miami standouts Heather Lin
(t-47) and Nataliya Guseva
(t-63rd) earned Epson Tour status, as did former Michigan Wolverine Ashley Lau
Michigan State Athletic Communications contributed to this report.