BY DENNIS CHASE
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — What started with an e-mail inquiry will end with a full-ride college scholarship today for Traverse City Central All-State golfer Courtney Dye.
That's when the senior will sign her letter-of-intent with Indiana Tech, a private NAIA school in Fort Wayne.
Dye, 17, plans to major in mechanical engineering.
"It's pretty hard to find a school for engineering and women's golf," Dye said. "Indiana Tech excelled in both areas.
"The engineering program there is fantastic. It was like, 'Oh, and I get golf along with it?' This is awesome."
Dye had also been in contact with the University of New Mexico, Tennessee Tech and Iowa State. It was Indiana Tech, though, that showed the most interest. Coach Kelly Mettert was quick to respond after Dye sent an inquiring e-mail to various college coaches.
"He was the first one to respond," Dye recalled. "He said, 'I'm really interested. I really want to meet you. Send me videos, send me your golf resume.' He was the most interested. He came up to Traverse City, to the Golf Academy (at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa). He watched me swing. He said, 'I see room for improvement, but I also see a great player. I really want to work with you.'"
Dye took a tour of the school in February and gave a verbal commitment two weeks later.
"I knew that was the place," she said. "And it's only six hours away. I can't think of any other school I'd rather go to."
Dye was the Big North Conference champion in the fall, and tied for eighth at the Division II state meet.
"She placed in the top 10 at the state meet the last three years," Central coach Lois McManus said. "She did a fabulous job for us. I know she would have liked to have done better at the state meet last fall, but the weather conditions were absolutely atrocious (cold and wet). Nobody played their best."
Dye leaves a high school program that has sent a number of players to the college ranks, including Chelsea Guoynes to Florida Gulf Coast and Natalie Matuszak to Saint Mary's.
"I've been very fortunate to have some extremely talented ladies," McManus said. "Courtney is a dedicated, totally driven person. She works with Scott Hebert (at Grand Traverse Resort). That's her pro. He's taken a lot of girls to that next level in golf.
"Courtney's goal was to play golf and get an engineering degree. Education is extremely important to her. The Indiana Tech coach was looking for someone dedicated to both, too."