RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA | There was never a question; never a doubt. At least that’s what Stanford junior Albane Valenzuela says now about the enviable dilemma she faced when two invitations to conflicting tournaments arrived in consecutive days.
“Augusta came first,” the 21-year-old Swiss player said of her invitation to play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which began Wednesday. “Then the ANA (Inspiration invitation) might have come the day after. They were very close. Once they were both in front of me, that’s when I really thought about it. Before that I was like, ‘Oh, what would I do?’ But once you are confronted with the choice, you start thinking a little more clearly.”
Valenzuela is one of four young women who, put into this pickle, opted to accept the rare amateur invitations to compete in the LPGA’s first major, a tournament no less an authority than Annika Sörenstam called “our Masters.” Valenzuela, along with Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit, Sweden’s Frida Kinhult and 17-year-old American Rachel Hec...
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