Harigae Leaves Duke, Plans To Turn Pro

January 12, 2009

By David Shefter, USGA

Durham, N.C. - Past U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links champion and 2008 USA Curtis Cupper Mina Harigae, 19, of Monterey, Calif., has decided to leave Duke University midway through her freshman season and plans to turn professional sometime in 2009.

Duke coach Dan Brooks made the announcement on Saturday.

"Mina is an exceptional golfer and we wish her all the best in her future," said Brooks on the Duke University women's golf Web site. "If she works hard, she should have a very bright career in professional golf."

Harigae claimed the 2007 WAPL title by defeating Stephany Fleet, 4 and 3, at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Ky. The championship came in her 13th USGA event and just a week prior to her making the 36-hole cut at the U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles, where she tied for 66th.

Last spring, Harigae, who has competed in 19 USGA championships, was chosen to represent the USA in the 2008 Curtis Cup at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, posting a 2-2 record to help the Americans win for the sixth consecutive Match.

During her brief freshman campaign at Duke, Harigae appeared in three tournaments and recorded two top-five finishes. She compiled a stroke average of 71.13.

"I want to thank Dan Brooks and all of my Blue Devil teammates for a great fall at Duke," Harigae said in a school release. "I enjoyed playing college golf and Duke is a wonderful place, but I have decided I need to focus more on golf and my goal of turning professional. I have not decided when I will turn professional but I plan on doing so by the end of [this] summer.

"I wish my teammates all the best this spring in their quest for an ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) and national championship and will miss everyone."

Since Harigae, a two-time U.S. Girls' Junior semifinalist (2003 and '06), did not go through LPGA Tour Qualifying School this past fall and is not a member of that circuit, she would be eligible for only six sponsor's exemptions. The U.S. Women's Open and Women's British Open would not count toward that figure.

Harigae has been in the national golf conscious­ness since she won the first of four consecutive California Women's Amateur titles as a 12-year-old. The Women's Amateur Public Links marked the first time, however, that she had advanced to a USGA national final.

Duke, which is led by reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion and two-time Curtis Cupper Amanda Blumenherst, opens the spring schedule Feb. 16-17 in Parrish, Fla., at the Central District Invitational.

David Shefter is a USGA Digital Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at dshefter@usga.org.



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