Many of the women’s professional golfers who will compete in this week’s Symetra Tour Garden City Charity Classic are part of a young, up-and-coming generation, most just recently having completed their collegiate eligibility.
So when Kendall Dye, who is now into her 10th season as a professional, prepares for her first round on Friday at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, the now 30-plus former University of Oklahoma standout will be somewhat of a veteran among the 130-plus field.
But Dye, who owns three Symetra Tour wins, including the 2018 Fuccillo Kia Classic of New York (July 27) with rounds of 65-67, has her sights fully set on making another step back up the ladder to the LPGA Tour in 2019.
With just eight tournaments played on the Symetra Tour since May, Dye has earned $32,062 and sits in the No. 20 slot. The top 10 money earners at the end of the season (Symetra Tour Championship, early October) get their automatic cards to the 2019 LPGA season.
“I had intended to play some more LPGA events this season, but then I looked at the schedule and the events, and decided my chances to earn my LPGA card were better by playing on the Symetra Tour,” Dye said in a recent telephone interview. “I’m in good position, and if I play well down the stretch, I’ve got a good chance to qualify again.”
It won’t be the first time she’s been in this position, having first earned her LPGA card at the end of the 2014 season, when she won her first professional Symetra Tour event at the IOA Classic.
“Rather than playing in a limited number of LPGA events, I decided the smartest and wisest thing was to come back here with the idea of foregoing Q (Qualifying) school,” Dye said. “The money was too good on the remaining events on the Symetra Tour.”
That decision seems to have worked out well, thus far, she said.
“I’ve been playing well (three top 10s), so I’m excited to see how things go here at the end of the season,” Dye said.
Of the previous four Charity Classic events, Dye has competed in three of them with lukewarm success at best.
In her first appearance at the Dunes, she tied for 40th with scores of 74-72-76. Back in 2016, Dye again found a tough test in Buffalo Dunes, shooting scores of 75-75-74-79 in the only 72-hole event conducted in Garden City, giving her a tie for 57th. Last year, she opened with a brilliant 68, but she struggled to a 79-82 finish and a tie for 59th.
So she’s setting her sights on a much better showing this time around, indicating that the course should fit her game with potential windy conditions.
“It’s the kind of course I usually play well, with the wind blowing,” Dye said of the Dunes. “It (wind) might not be as crazy but I know in this area of the world, the weather can kinda be crazy.”
Dye said she sees the degree of difficulty of Symetra courses getting closer to those on the LPGA Tour, but still not as tough as they could be.
“They’ve closed the gap some, but I think the courses are too short, and it’s still a big transition from one tour to the next,” she said. “The depth of the fields is bigger, and if you miss a shot here or there, it can be the difference of making the cut or not.”
The win earlier this year in New York boosted her confidence level, she indicated.
“Gaining confidence is everything,” Dye said. “Things happen for a reason. I had a stretch where I was 26-under-par for six rounds, so you just have to remember there will be good times and times that are challenging. When things aren’t going well, just remember that life is still good.”
That’s what she’s looking to accomplish this week at Buffalo Dunes.