THOMPSONVILLE – Traverse City’s Anika Dy had home-course advantage and more importantly a sizzling putter on the back nine.
It added up to five-shot victory in the 26th Michigan PGA Open Championship for the 17-year-old Crystal Mountain Resort cart lot attendant who grew up playing the Mountain Ridge Course where she shot a final 4-under 68 with a 4-under 32 on the back nine Wednesday.
“This is my fifth or sixth year playing in this and I’ve never done very well,” she said after closing with a 12-under 204 total. “This year I just really felt it. I’m super happy to be able to win at my home course. Being here at Crystal helped so much. This tells me the work I have been doing is working, and that if I keep going good things will come in time.”
As a recent Traverse City West High School graduate headed to the University of Michigan in the fall, and an amateur golfer, she couldn’t win the first-place check in the $40,000 tournament. She is just the second amateur to win the open championship that draws professionals and amateurs from across the country, and the youngest to ever win. Breanne Hall of Kentwood, who is now the women’s golf coach at Illinois State, won in 2003 while playing golf for the University of Toledo.
Haylee Harford of Leavittsburg, Ohio, who was playing in her first professional tournament after just graduating from Furman University, and mini-tour professional Macy Hubbard of Mason, Ohio, who charged in the final round with a 66, tied for second at 7-under 209. They will split first and second-place money for $5,250 each. Mini-tour pro Bryana Nguyen of Columbia, Md., shot 65 for 210 and fourth place and $3,500.
Defending champion Elizabeth Nagel, a Symetra Tour player, tied for fifth with a closing 71 for 212. Professional Sarah Bae of Pinehurst, N.C., shot 68 and also finished at 212.
Dy, a three-time Division 1 high school state champion and Michigan’s unprecedented three-time Miss Golf, said some nerves and a few poor shots kept her at even-par through the front nine. Then she hit it to about two feet for birdie on the par 4 No. 10 hole and made three consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 with birdie putts of three feet, 10-feet and eight feet.
“All my putts were going in on the back nine – that’s what I remember,” she said. “And my irons started clicking. The key that helped me win this week was that even when I got in a bad spot, I’ve played this course so many times that I know what I have to do and where I have to go. I’m comfortable here in almost any spot, and I was able to stay calm and just focus on my game. I didn’t know I won because I did not look at the leaderboards on the course at all. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I just tried to keep it going. I think I handled it well not thinking about anything too much. I just focused on my game and hitting good shots, and not letting what other people do affect me.”
Harford, who started the day one shot behind Dy and pulled to within one shot again with a birdie at No. 9, said Dy played amazing.
“I didn’t make enough putts, and she made almost all of them on the second nine,” she said. “She’s a great player and she played great.”
Dy said Hubbard, an All-American at Furman, was an awesome player and awesome person.
“She pushed me to play my best, and I look forward to playing with her again,” she said.
Dy said winning an event that included professionals in the field would not change her mind about college.
“I look forward to being on a team, in that atmosphere,” she said. “We will see how college golf goes before even thinking about pro golf.”