DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – University of Arkansas senior Gabriela Lopez earned her LPGA Tour card and turned professional Sunday after finishing tied for 10th in the final stage of Qualifying School in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Lopez will forgo her final semester of play at Arkansas and begin preparation and play on Tour this spring. She is the second Razorback women’s golfer to earn her Tour card under Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor joining Stacy Lewis who won stage three in 2008.
Lopez shot 68-72-70-70-73=353. The top-20 finishers all earned Tour cards with players who finished 21-45 earning conditional status from the 157-player field.
“Right now I have a million emotions in my mind and in my heart,” Lopez said. “This round was a tough one. I didn’t expect it to be that hard but I proved to myself that I was prepared for that moment.”
“Arkansas has been a huge part of my career,” Lopez explained. “I improved so much on the golf course and matured so much on and off the golf course. I’m so blessed to be part of such a great program. I’m just really grateful because they helped me get to this point. Without them I don’t know if I would be here.”
Now that she has her LPGA Tour Card locked up, Lopez can set her sights even higher for 2016.
“I came to Q-School to open myself up to get a chance for Rio (2016 Olympic Games). That’s my ultimate goal,” Lopez said. “The first step was getting the card and then the next one is getting to Rio but it’s so far ahead right now. I just need to take one tournament at a time and do my best every single shot I hit and if it turns out that I go to Rio that’s great.”
In three-and-a-half seasons with Arkansas, Lopez posted a 90% winning percentage and a 72.42 stroke average. She had three tournament wins and 19 top-10 finishes in 36 career events. Lopez finished as the NCAA individual runner up as a junior in Florida last season and has made two U.S. Women’s Open appearances while playing at Arkansas.
• Medalist honors at Westbrook Invitational (2012-13), LSU Golf Classic (2013-14) and Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic (2013-14)
• Three-time SEC Women’s Golfer of the Week
• 2013 All-SEC Second-Team
• 2013 SEC All-Freshman Team
• 2014, 2015 All-SEC First-Team
• SEC runner-up as a sophomore
• Three-time National Golf Coaches Association All-American (2013, 2014, 2015)
• Golfweek Player of the Week, March 26, 2014
• 2015 Honda Award Finalist
• 2015 NCAA All-Region Team
• Named to the PING/WGCA Player of the Year Watch List, 5-18-15
• Three-time selection to the WGCA All-Scholar Team (2013, 2014, 2015)
• Three-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll (2013, 2014, 2015)
• Member of the University of Arkansas Athletics Department academic honor roll every semester
Other Amateur Accomplishments
• Three-time participant in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
• Two-time U.S. Women’s Open participant
• Member of the Mexican Spirit International team
Career Collegiate Stats
For more information on Arkansas women’s golf, follow @RazorbackWGolf on Twitter.