TWICE IS NICE FOR DYE IN THE HEART OF DIXIE
PRATTVILLE, Ala. — Entering the final round of the second annual Guardian Championship, Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma) trailed by two shots, but a 6-under par 66 performance this afternoon erased that deficit and helped claim her fourth career Symetra Tour title.
The University of Oklahoma alumna concluded the 19th event of the Symetra Tour season at 16-under par overall to raise the trophy, one shot ahead of Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) and Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea).
“I never really thought that I would get four professional victories out here, but I am so grateful,” said Dye, who recorded seven birdies and only one bogey today. “There was a lot of great competition and I thought if I gave myself a lot of good opportunities, make a few more putts than the last few days, then I could shoot something low. I’m thankful we got it done.”
In a week that shook the golf world with the tragic loss of Celia Barquin Arozamena (Puente San Miguel, Spain) last Monday, Dye joined the 120-player field in wearing Iowa State University hats donated by New Era and memorial ribbons throughout tournament play. During the trophy presentation, the first thing Dye talked about was dedicating the win to Barquin Arozamena.
“It was a very important week for all of us across the sport, especially in the women’s game,” Dye said. “I wanted to be the person to win this week in honor of Celia. We are going to carry on her legacy and play our hearts out for her each and every day. This is for her and her family.”
Meanwhile, the occasion etches Dye into the history books as the first two-time winner on the Symetra Tour in 2018. Up to this point, there had been 18 different champions for the season, but Dye becomes the first to step into the winner’s circle multiple times.
“I don’t set a ton of goals, but when I was told that no one had a repeat victory this year, I wanted to be that person to do it,” said Dye, who also won the Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY in late July. “I was late getting out here since I spent most of the year on the LPGA Tour, so it’s important to get my full membership for next year. I was really excited to play this week and if you can wake and still be excited late in the fourth quarter of the season like this, that’s a good thing.”
The result launches Dye from No. 23 to No. 7 in the Volvik Race for the Card. With two events remaining, the battle for the top-10 to earn full LPGA membership for 2019 still faces its biggest tests yet.
“It’s kind of like today, you can’t play prevent defense out here, you have to go and be hungry to win,” Dye said. “I don’t look at the money list because I’m not that smart to add it all up, I just come out here and play golf, get the ball in the hole. My experience will hopefully pay off. I’m really excited for the finish.”
LIU, KWAK FINISH TIED FOR SECOND
At one point during the final round of the Guardian Championship, five players were tied for the lead including Ruixin Liu and Min Seo Kwak.
When the dust settled, both players signed for a 7-under par 65 scorecard and together finished tied for second.
“We were talking earlier before this week started that nobody had won two tournaments yet,” said Liu, who went bogey-free this afternoon and won the Island Resort Championship in late June. “For me, to be in that position is really encouraging. You don’t always have that chance to go for it. All the girls are playing super good so it helps me to keep playing well too.”
Kwak held the outright advantage at 16-under par overall when she stepped on the tee box at No. 17. However, a bogey on the par-5 hurt her chances. Nonetheless, she climbs five spots in the Volvik Race for the Card to No. 11.
“I didn’t know I was leading until I saw the scoreboard on the par-3 16th,” Kwak said. “I saw it and was like wow I’m close, was happy then after I bogeyed was depressed. I’m happy with my finish today, though.”
The showing also helped Liu’s cause in the Volvik Race for the Card, where she launched four places into the No. 2 position.
“It feels like a heavy weight off my shoulders, not completely but much more relaxed than the weeks before,” said Liu. “It feels like it can give me a better time in the upcoming weeks and I can enjoy it more instead of being so stressed out and nervous about it.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS
Following the 19th tournament of the 2018 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card saw plenty of shifting within the top-10.
The victory and $24,000 winner’s check moved Kendall Dye up 16 spots to No. 7, having earned $56,062 through 11 events played. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the fifth annual IOA Golf Classic at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood, Fla. from Sept. 28-30:
- Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) - $83,874
- Ruixin Liu - $68,589
- Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden) - $63,192
- Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) - $63,124
- Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) - $60,611
- Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England) - $58,206
- Kendall Dye - $56,062
- Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) - $55,428
- Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) - $55,192
- Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) - $54,448