Teenager Yun Allowed to Turn Professional

By: Dave Andrews

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Yun of Bradenton, Fla., has been granted special permission by the Duramed Futures Tour to turn professional for the 2009 season. Tour CEO Zayra Calderon notified Yun by letter Wednesday that she'll be allowed to play as a pro in the first event following her 17th birthday on April 13th. This will make Yun one of the youngest professional players in the tour's history.

The incredibly talented teenager (featured in an earlier Cybergolf article - http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/a_rising_star_surprises_the_womens_golf_world) made headlines in October when she left the University of Florida women's golf team. Last spring as a 15-year-old freshman Yun was named to the All-SEC first team. Yun said she decided to withdraw from Florida because she believed that playing in a college golf program was hindering the development of her game. Since leaving college, Yun returned to the IMG/David Leadbetter golf academy in Bradenton where she now spends 10 hours a day, six days a week honing her already-formidable golf skills.

Last month while competing against many seasoned LPGA and Futures Tour players, Yun finished second and third, respectively, in two Suncoast Ladies Series' events played on the two LPGA International courses where last week's LPGA Q School final was held. Yun shot well under par in both of those three-day events, carding a 66 in one round. Those scores would have put her in contention to earn an LPGA playing card had she fired them in the Q School final.

The schedule for the 2009 Duramed Futures Tour season has not yet been released. Yun will likely have to play three or four of the initial events as an amateur, but she will be competing for cash purses in the first event following her 17th birthday. The tour says if she finishes in the top 10 on the season's money list, she will have to apply to the LPGA Tour for a special exemption to become an LPGA member and compete in that tour's qualifying tournaments.

Yun played as an amateur in 11 events on the Duramed Futures Tour schedule this year, finishing the season with a 74.38 stroke average. That ranked her 57th among the other players on the tour. She was committed to playing the DFT in 2009, either as an amateur or as a professional.

Now, with the tour granting her special request to turn professional, the teenager will be playing for the cash purses by mid-April.

Dave Andrews is a Harvard-educated former television news reporter. He's also an avid golfer who has become a fan of the Duramed Futures Tour. His home course in Concord, N.H., is annually the site of one of the tour's events. The inspiration for Dave's 2007 novel, "Pops and Sunshine," came from meeting many of the young aspiring women golfers on that tour. Each of them has a passion, dedication and determination that he finds remarkable. His novel is a fictionalization of the dream that these young women share. To order Dave's book, visit http://popsandsunshine.com.