Malaysia's Natasha Andrea Oon has decided to make the jump into the professional ranks and will tee up in next week's Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give as a professional golfer.
"It has been my lifelong dream to be able to have this sport as my career. The hours and sweat put in was definitely worth it for this moment," Oon posted on social media yesterday.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a superb amateur career with San José State University, most recently leading her team into the match play stage of the NCAA Championships by finishing as individual runner-up in the 54-hole stroke play. She enjoyed two wins this year, at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional and Mountain West Conference Championship, and moved up to seventh - a Malaysian record - in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Oon, a two-time All-American NCAA selection, thanked her coaches and parents: "I'd like to thank my coaches Erik Stone and Brian Inkster for helping me shape my game. I'd like to thank my parents for helping me become the person I am today."
Earlier this month, Oon was named as the recipient of the 2022 Inkster Award Presented by Workday as the highest ranked women’s NCAA Division I golfer in her final year of eligibility. The award is named after American golf legend Juli Inkster, who was a three-time All-American at San José State from 1979 to 1982.
The Inkster Award includes exemptions into two LPGA events, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club in Michigan (June 16-19) and the AmazingCre Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Oregon (September 15-18). Oon will also automatically advance into the second stage of LPGA Qualifying School this October 18-21 .
Workday also provided USD50,000 to the Juli Inkster Foundation to support Oon’s transition to the professional ranks, which will include a mentorship retreat with Inkster.
"I also want to mention the San Jose State University Spartan community for shaping the path for me in this journey. I want to give a huge thank you to Juli Inkster for being the epitome of support throughout this process. You have given me such inspiration to pursue my dreams," noted Oon, who graduated from San José State with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in General Business and is currently pursuing a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies (Sports and Data).
Gabriela Ruffels was twenty under after tenth hole but made bogey on eleven and twelve. Alexa Pana was twenty two under after fourteen, bogeyed fifteen doubled bogey sixteen. That allowed Lucy Lee who had three birdies and one bogey, tie her and win in a playoff.