Sunday News & Notes
SOUTH BEND, Indiana, June 11, 2017 - Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma) pulled off one of the most impressive final-round performances in Tour history on Sunday in South Bend. She entered the day six shots off the lead and turned in a bogey-free 8-under, 64 in windy conditions to win the Four Winds Invitational by three shots at Blackthorn Golf Club. Dye finished with a three-day total of 11-under, 205. She sprinted past Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) and Celine Boutier (Montrouge, France), who shared second at 8-under, 208.
Dye started hot and ended with a bang as she drilled a 25-footer for birdie on 17 and a 30-footer on 18 to earn the first place payout of $22,500. She moves up from 36th to sixth on the new Volvik Race for the Card money list with $30,161 in nine starts.
“I came out here with a mission,” explained Dye. “I had two hole-in-ones on this course and a double eagle so what more is there to do on this golf course than win. I’ve been playing really good golf and it was only a matter of time.”
Dye joked in her winner’s speech that she was going to bury her ashes one day under Blackthorn because of how successful she has been.
Dye made birdies on holes three and six and then made four birdies in a row between eight and 11 to get to 9-under. While Dye was catching fire, the leaders began to fall back to the field. Elizabeth Szokol, who entered the day with a three-shot lead, lost a ball on 10 and made a double-bogey while Celine Boutier, who caught Szokol on the front nine, lost a ball on 11 and made double.
“I had a sense of calm all day today, it was Jesus, I couldn’t believe it,” said Dye. “I had a mission of making 18 birdies this week - six a day - and I came up one short. I knew I needed to buckle down and find a few more birdies down the stretch.”
Dye said that her caddy, Billy Prentice, told her to snuggle her 30-foot biridie putt close with the big lead on 18, but she had other ideas.
“I said ‘heck no, I’m going to make it’,” explained Dye. “I’m glad I capped off the day with a great putt.”
Dye made a critical 8-foot par putt on 13 and a 6-foot par putt on 14. She attempted just 24 putts on the round.
“I’ve been putting well for two weeks and I actually had a ten minute putting lesson back in April with my head pro in Tampa at Avila Golf and Country Club (Chris Slattery),” said Dye, who left Sarasota to go to the putting lesson after missing the cut. “It’s an old Ping B60 putter that came straight from Angela Stanford’s garage.”
Dye, who won on the Symetra Tour in 2014, became very good friends with Stanford while playing the LPGA in 2015.
“We were at her house two years ago and I had no desire to play golf and Angela told me to go in her garage and build a golf set,” explained Dye. “I found this old putter and I made everything at her course that day so I told her I was stealing the putter. She can’t believe I’m still using the putter, but for some reason it works for me.”
Surprisingly, Dye’s play of late has been a little uneven. Over the last five events, she now has two missed cuts and three top 15 finishes. She feels that this performance will get her past the sometimes inconsistent play.
“I’m not getting too bummed about the missed cuts because I’m playing to win,” said Dye. “On my off days, I’ve been playing some top championship golf courses (Dye is a Golf Digest course rater). Recently, I’ve played Wingfoot West and Quaker Ridge and those are really hard courses so when I came out here - which is a hard golf course - it seems more doable. The holes seemed really big all three days.”
Dye played full-time on the LPGA Tour in 2015 and missed 15 cuts. She is so desperate for a return to the where she feels like she belongs.
“I had conditional status last year and I just wanted to focus on the Symetra Tour this year,” said Dye, who is not bouncing between tours this year. “My best buddies are on the LPGA Tour and I know I’m capable of being in contention there, it’s just a matter of me getting out of my own dang way.”
Boutier and Szokol shared second place at 8-under, 208. Boutier remains second on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and is now just $1,156 short of the top spot. Szokol’s second top 10 of the season moves her from 53rd to 18th on the money list.
REBECCA ARTIS MAKES FIRST CAREER ACE: Rebecca Artis (Coonabarabran, Australia) made her first career hole-in-one on Sunday to earn a $5,000 check courtesy of Orion Group.
She selected - with the help of her caddy/husband Geoff - a 9-iron on the par-3 seventh hole and hit a perfect shot. The shot was from approximately 125 yards.
“Geoff told me to hit a little grip-9 and we started it a little right of the pin and hit a little draw back into the wind,” explained Artis. “It landed about 111 meters and went bounce, bounce and then in.”
Her playing partners told her about the sign that indicated that the hole-in-one was worth $5,000.
“That makes it even sweeter I suppose.”
Artis is now in her eighth year as a Tour professional in both Europe and the United States.
“I’ve obviously been playing golf longer than that and I’ve holed out from the middle of the fairway, but I have never had a hole-in-one. It’s probably the most excited I’ve seen Geoff on the golf course, he gave me the biggest high five ever and my hand stung for a hole.”
POTAWATOMI CUP BEGINS: The Potawatomi Cup is now underway and Kendall Dye earned 500 points for her win and a $3,000 bonus. A total of $40,000 of bonus money is available at the four tournaments sponsored by Potawatomi nation tribes. The Four Winds Invitational is sponsored by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Boutier and Szokol are in second place with 245 points each while Benyapa Niphatsophon and Sophia Popov are in a tie for fourth with 122.50 points. The player that earns the most points at the end of the four events will earn a $6,000 bonus.
The next Potawatomi Cup event is the Island Resort Championship from June 23-25 in Harris, Michigan.