The decision to turn professional is a difficult choice for most players. So many factors go into the choice, just to remove the lowercase “a” next to your name on the leaderboard. It seems like turning pro at a young age is something you see more often in professional golf than in any other sport, and in women’s golf, doing so means you miss out on some of the biggest events in the sport as well as a true college experience.
But for Pauline Del Rosario, the decision to turn professional was an easy one. Del Rosario turned pro right out of high school after growing up in the Philippines and made her professional debut in 2016 at the ICTSI Philippines Ladies Masters. The following year, she would win her first event at the 2017 TLPGA and Royal Open before finally moving to the United States to compete professionally.
“So, I turned pro after high school. I knew what I wanted to do, which was play professional golf and not go through the college route,” said Del Rosario. “I just stuck with my decision and committed myself to playing professional golf and everything it takes to be a professional golfer.”
Del Rosario played on the Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) during her first professional season in the U.S., hoping to secure a top-five spot in their season-long rankings and earn a spot in Stage II of LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying School. The now 25-year-old did just that, finishing second in the WAPT Race to Stage II and winning her first professional event in the U.S. along the way at the 2021 WLN Central Arkansas Open.
“I've been playing in Asia before the pandemic. I came here after the pandemic and played the WAPT and made the Top 5,” explained Del Rosario. “I came here, and all the girls were so good. I knew I had to level up my game, and lessen my errors, and fine-tune everything. I think that's what it takes to play on a higher level of golf.”
Del Rosario has now finished up her second full season on the Epson Tour, steadily improving from year one to year two. She ended her season in 2023 at 79th in the Race for the Card, jumping up nearly 30 spots from her finish at 103rd in 2022.
Del Rosario is making her third appearance at Stage II this year and is finding success early. Through two rounds, she is currently in a tie for 13th at 3-under, three shots ahead of the current top-40 and ties cutoff, a cutoff she will need to finish inside to earn a berth in LPGA Q-Series. Del Rosario has put herself in a great position to take that next step, drawing on her past experiences as a pro to help her get over the line.
“This is my third appearance. Each year, I just try to better what I've been working on,” said Del Rosario. “Playing Stage II is really nerve-wracking for any player. So, we try to hone everything together for just this one week and keep our nerves together. I just want to keep the momentum going by staying calm and doing my routine and my process.”
Del Rosario will tee off for her third round at 12:11 p.m. ET on the Panther Course. To follow along, please visit http://scoring.lpga.com.