The Oklahoma native, a five-year veteran on the LPGA Qualifying Tour, captured her first victory in 56 Symetra Tour starts by shooting a course-record 65 in the final round of the IOA Golf Classic on Monday. That left her with an 11-under-par total of 202 three shots better than second-round leader Hannah Yun, who had led Dye by three shots entering the final round, delayed to Monday due to Saturday storms.
Dye took control on the back nine Monday, needing only nine putts to shoot 30. That included a chip-in eagle on 16, which all but locked up the victory.
“My emotions were calm and it was pretty cool to finish strong and actually put a performance together and win,” said Dye.
The victory could have extra special meaning for Dye. The top 10 money winners at the end of the season automatically qualify for the LPGA Tour next season.
“My mission every year is to come away with an LPGA Tour card and I’ve been to Q-School too many times so I’m looking at these 19 or 20 events as my Q-School,” said Dye. “I’ve got 60 rounds to play well and earn some money to get onto the next stage.
“The win definitely takes the pressure off for the rest of the year. I still need to compete, I still need to play in hopefully all of the events, but now maybe I have a little leeway where I may not have to play ten weeks in a row.”
The victory was worth $15,000, jumping her from 14th to second on the money list after three events.
A local angle involved Lake Mary Prep School senior Nicole Morales, who received a sponsor’s exemption to compete in the Alaqua Country Club event. And compete she did. The 17-year-old made the cut and finished tied for 40th with a three-day total of 217.
“It has been a dream come true playing with the people out here,” said Morales. “I got to compare myself to how everybody else is in the next stage. Being able to compare myself is a great opportunity and I’ve learned so much this week.”