TRAVERSE CITY — Three straight birdies amidst a blistering back nine catapulted Traverse City’s Anika Dy to the 2019 Michigan Women’s Open championship Wednesday.
Dy carded a 4-under 68 during the final round at Crystal Mountain Resort’s Mountain Ridge course to become the second amateur to win during the event’s 26-year history and the youngest competitor to do so at 17. She wound up at 12-under for the tournament, five strokes ahead of Macy Hubbard and Haylee Harford, who each finished at 7-under.
“I feel pretty happy,” Dy said. “I didn’t know I won, even on 18. I did not look at leader boards at all. I had no idea. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. After I got down (to the trophy presentation), it really hit me. I feel really proud of the way I played.”
The three-time Miss Golf winner built her lead after making the turn with a one-shot lead. Dy scored birdies on Nos. 10, 13, 14 and 15 to go with five pars. She shot a 32 on the final nine holes to win comfortably.
“This is my fifth or sixth year playing this event,” Dy said. “I’ve never actually done well. It’s always been not too good. This year I just really felt it. I’m really happy to win it at my home.”
Hubbard climbed the leader boards from another group to grab her share of the second-place spot, but Dy battled Harford (Leavittsburg, Ohio) all day within the leader’s grouping. Harford may have reeled in Dy by the turn on Wednesday, or perhaps grabbed the lead, if not for a double bogey on No. 2.
Harford and Dy each shot even par on the front nine, and the former sank a birdie on No. 9 to trim Dy’s lead to one stroke.
Dy answered by birdieing No. 10.
Then she birdied 13, then 14 — set up by a great approach shot that landed within feet of the pin — and 15 was phenomenal.
From 145 yards out on her second shot, Dy went full-on pin seeker, rolling the ball right by the cup. She ended up tapping in from six feet.
“That was kind of insane. I just tried to keep it going,” Dy said. “All my putts were going in. That’s what I remember on the back nine. It was the putting that was really good. My irons did click on the back.
“It put me where I needed to be and built my confidence to where I needed to be on the last three holes.”
Of Dy’s back-nine performance, Harford said, “She played great and had a hot putter.”
Dy said the pressure of playing well at the Open didn’t quite reach the level of her three individual high school state championships.
“Being at Crystal helped so much,” she said. “I feel so comfortable here, even if I’m doing bad. I’m calm.
“Even if I got in a bad spot, I know where to go and know where to hit it. I felt comfortable out of any spot. That really helped me.”
Christine Meier (Rochester Hills, Mich.), who was the third member of the leader’s group, was unable to keep pace with Dy and Harford.
Meier shot 12-over for the day after shooting 4-under over the first two days. Her obvious frustration grew as she continued to slide down the leader board thanks to two triple bogeys, one double bogey and five bogeys. She finished tied for 34th.
Hubbard (Mason, Ohio) had the second-best round of the day, shooting 6-under. She cashed in because of the performance.
Because Dy is an amateur, she can only accept a $750 prize for winning. The money slotted for the winner is redirected to second place. Hubbard and Harford shared the first-place prize money, in addition to the second-place prize money.
That nets Hubbard and Harford $5,250 each.
The best final round belonged to Bryana Nguyen (Columbia, Md.), who shot 7-under. She finished fourth at 6-under for the tournament. Nguyen won $3,500.
Sarah Bae (Pinehurst, N.C.) and 2018 Open champion Elizabeth Nagel (DeWitt, Mich.) finished tied for fifth overall at 4-under.
St. Mary’s College golfer Hunter Kehoe, another Traverse City West grad, finished tied for 62nd. She shot 17-over on the day to finish 21-over for the tournament.