SYLVANIA, Ohio — Florida teenager Morgan Pressel said Wednesday that she wants to turn professional in a bid to play the LPGA Tour next year.
The 17-year-old amateur said she has petitioned the LPGA to waive its 18-year-old age restriction so that she can try qualifying school this fall in an attempt to join the tour as a full member at the start of next season.
She also has informed Duke officials that if the waiver is granted she will forego their scholarship offer.
LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw told Pressel he expects to rule within two weeks.
Though Pressel won't turn 18 until next May and won't graduate from high school until shortly after that, she wants the tour's permission to seek to play as a full member next season while still completing her senior year.
"I'm playing well, my game is improving, and I feel like I can compete on a regular basis," Pressel said between chip shots at Highland Meadows Golf Club, where she's preparing to play in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. "This is what I want to do with my life. Why not get a head start?"
Pressel stunned golf with her runner-up finish at the U.S. Women's Open at Cherry Hills last month. She had a chance to become the youngest winner of a major championship in the history of men's or women's pro golf. She was denied only after Birdie Kim holed out from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole.
As an amateur, Pressel is allowed to play six LPGA events on sponsor invitations this year.
If Pressel were a pro, she would have earned more than $330,000 in her four LPGA starts this year, good for 20th on the tour's money list.
Aree Song is the only player in tour history to gain a waiver of the age restriction. She was 17 when Votaw waived the rule so she could go to LPGA qualifying school in 2003. She finished 28th on the tour's money list as a rookie last year with $426,327 in earnings.
The LPGA won't reveal the names of minors who have applied for waivers, but a tour source indicated no other petitions were made before this year.
Last month, 15-year-old Carmen Bandea of Atlanta, who has never played an LPGA Tour event, also petitioned for a waiver of the tour's age restriction.