DOTTIE ARDINA RECIPIENT OF THE SYMETRA SWIFT AWARD
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Having officially passed the halfway point of the 2018 Symetra Tour schedule, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour has recognized Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) as the recipient of the Symetra Swift Award.
Presented annually to the player who is off to the fastest start at No. 1 in the Volvik Race for the Card after the first half of the year, Symetra acknowledges this accomplishment by sponsoring the award. The swift is a fast bird, always moving at a high rate of speed, and is the inspiration behind the design of the Symetra Tour and Symetra logo.
For Ardina, she picks up a new piece of hardware, along with $1,500. With three second-place finishes already this season, including solo second results at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic and Symetra Classic in May, as well as tied for second in French Lick, Ind., for the Donald Ross Classic, this eases the pain of previously coming up short.
“Oh yeah, big time, because my goal is just to get my full LPGA card for next year so I won’t have to play Q-Series,” said Ardina, who went 11-under par over the final two rounds last week on the Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort. “It does really make up for my three runner-up finishes. I wasn’t expecting anything, that I would be No. 1 halfway through the season. I’m just doing my work and practicing hard, so it really pays off.”
In addition to the bonus money that Ardina receives, Symetra will make a $1,000 donation to the charity of her choosing. At this time, she has elected to partner with the Philippine Children’s Fund of America (PCFA), a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, Calif.
As the second half of the season continues to roll on starting tomorrow with the beginning of the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic, Ardina has a couple goals in mind. First and foremost is maintaining her position in the standings, with another key objective over the next 10 events to win a tournament.
“That would be awesome and I could bring home a trophy to my parents,” Ardina said. “I’m more motivated being No. 1 and I just want to finish strong.”
SPONSOR EXEMPTION TEACHMAN RETURNS TO ROOTS
One of three sponsor exemptions for the fourth annual Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic from July 19-22 at Brook-Lea Country Club is Tessa Teachman (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), a Rochester native who developed her game down the road at Webster Golf Club.
Some of Teachman’s fondest memories from her youth revolve around the game of golf, especially attending the Wegmans LPGA Championship throughout her childhood. The event was contested at Locust Hill Country Club from 1977-2009.
“I remember going to that every year, every day as much as I could,” said Teachman. “That’s where I really started falling in love with the game. I played all of my junior golf and a lot of my amateur golf based out of here. There are a lot of wonderful places to play, and it’s a great community that is supportive of women’s golf.”
At age 13, Teachman won the New York State Girls Junior Championship. A year later, she was on America’s 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team. Then when the local product turned 16, her family moved to Louisiana.
Now coming back to her roots as a professional, competing once again in this event continues to fulfill a lifelong goal.
“It’s something I grew up dreaming of,” Teachman said. “Not many girls get the opportunity to play professionally and play in front of a hometown crowd. Rochester is just a special place to me, so it’s a lot of fun.”
A graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU), the local product was a four-time Academic All-American for the Tigers. In addition, Teachman finished third at the 2012 NCAA National Championships. She even starred on Golf Channel’s win-or-go home reality TV show, “Big Break Myrtle Beach.”
Through all the success and fame, Teachman has remained true to her New York roots. Furthermore, she hasn’t forgot the legacy of Danielle Downey, someone who played a large part in Teachman’s life, albeit through a small gesture.
“She was a few years older than me, but growing up she was always in the newspaper,” said Teachman. “I remember corresponding with her, writing congratulatory cards, and she would write me back. That was the coolest thing ever that she took the time out of her day and practice schedule to write to a 13-year-old. I still have those letters and really do cherish them. We never really got to play much together, but she was definitely someone that I looked up to.”
DODD DRAWS COMPETITIVE SPIRIT FROM DAD’S BACKGROUND
Another sponsor exemption this week in the Empire State is Marissa Dodd (Allen, Texas), marking the third straight year the Wake Forest University alumna is in the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic field.
“I love coming to this event because the main thing that makes it special is the community,” said Dodd, who recorded a hole-in-one during tournament play in 2016. “You have so many spectators around the greens during the tournament. There’s just so much support.”
In her third year on the Symetra Tour, Dodd is coming off a tied for 38th finish at the Donald Ross Classic. She’ll have some added motivation for this event with her dad Mark on the bag.
Already instilled with the mind of an athlete, having her father in town will only enhance the vision. Mark was a Major League Soccer (MLS) goalkeeper for 11 years, spending time with the Colorado Foxes and Dallas Burn. He also went to some preliminary camps for the United States National Soccer Team.
“He was a phenomenal soccer player, a great athlete and he is my caddie,” Dodd said. “Really fun to have him on the bag and just a pro athlete experience is really helpful. He is constantly there for me, which is invaluable to have on the golf course on a good day or a bad day. If he can do anything from an athlete perspective that’s great, but other than that he is my dad.”
Throughout her childhood, Dodd learned plenty of lessons from her father. They are something she will take with her into competition this weekend.
“His one line of being an athlete is ‘always be prepared for anything,’ whether that is having extra gear in the car, or just mentally prepared,” said Dodd. “I guess that leads into he is an extremely hard worker. He taught me that if you want to get somewhere then that’s the way to do it, you have to work hard and can’t cheat the system.”
Dodd opens play tomorrow at 1:26 p.m. ET off No. 10 tee, paired with Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) and Kyung Kim (Chandler, Arizona).