Patience and commitment
Patience and commitment. That’s what enabled Kendall Dye to get through a crazy 24 hours from Monday to Tuesday.
The Phoenix resident and former University of Oklahoma star experienced her first Symetra Tour title in Florida thanks to a red-hot back nine, rushed overnight home to Phoenix and played a round with a longtime friend on Tuesday. The result: Exhaustion with a huge smile.
“Everything was a blur,” said Dye, who rose to second on the Symetra Tour money list with her victory at the IOA Golf Classic. “My final nine holes were insane – I wouldn’t say I was unconscious but it was close. Then I raced to the airport to get home. I made a commitment to meet someone there and I lived up to it. When I got seated in the plane, there were a lot of giggles and smiles even though I didn’t know anybody else. I just kept thinking, ‘We did it.’ ”
Dye, 26, began the final round of the rain-delayed IOA Golf Classic in Longwood, Fla., three strokes behind leader Hannah Yun. On the front nine at Alaqua Country Club, Dye hit eight of nine greens in regulation, many offering short birdie putts. But she made nothing and turned even par for the day. She kept hearing her caddie say, “Stay patient.”
The longtime Edmond, Okla., resident took off soon after. She was 6-under through the first seven holes of the back nine – including a one-hopped wedge into the hole from 75 yards for an eagle on the par-5 16th hole – and totaled only nine putts. She cruised to a three-stroke win, easily the biggest victory of her professional career, outdistancing two wins on the Cactus Tour. She shot a final-round 65, with 30 coming in.
After the awards ceremony and interviews in late afternoon, Dye bolted for the airport to make her flight from Orlando to Charlotte to Phoenix, arriving home by 3 a.m.
She was excited to greet her boyfriend, and after a couple of hours sleep, it was up and at ’em to meet friend Tim D’Angelo, whom she met while paired in a Colorado pro-am a couple years ago. They became fast friends and Dye treated him to a tour of the Ping facility and then to golf at Troon North on Tuesday. It was a great way to finish a hectic couple days.
“I was kind of tired of playing golf by Tuesday afternoon,” Dye said. “But I had promised we’d do it on that date, and plus it was good to get home.”
It was also a time to reflect on learning the game from her father, Mike, at age 8, outdriving him by age 12 and playing in the shadow cast by famous Edmond golfers such as Gil Morgan, Bob Tway, Willie Wood, Scott Verplank, et al.
“My dad got my brother and I started in most all sports,” Dye said. “He was the perfect kind of dad. Pretty soon, he was humbled at golf by a 12 year old. But he was OK with that.”
Now, he’s especially proud. After toiling on the Symetra Tour for three years, Dye now can determine her own schedule this year in an attempt to finish in the top 10 and reach the LPGA for the first time in 2015.
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