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Dye needs just 21 putts to shoot 66 and win Colorado Women’s Open

by Gary Baines

Kendall Dye was once leaning toward not coming to the 20th HealthOne Colorado Women’s Open. But on Friday, she was mighty happy she didn’t give into that inclination.

The touring professional from Phoenix was hesitant to play at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club because she has three consecutive events remaining on the Symetra Tour, and the Colorado Women’s Open would make it four straight weeks of tournament golf and travel. And considering she’s No. 7 on the Symetra money list, and the top 10 at the end of the year earn 2015 LPGA Tour cards, she wanted to be at her best.

But as it is, Dye might be a little more tired, but she goes into the home stretch of the season on a nice roll. On Friday, the former University of Oklahoma golfer assured that by shooting a 6-under-par 66 to claim the second professional title of her career and the $11,000 that goes with winning the Colorado Women’s Open.

“This was my first professional event in May 2009 and I got second that week,” noted Dye (pictured above). “I love coming back to this event. It’s really a fun, casual, lighthearted tournament, and the distances I hit it here (at altitude) are dreamy. I’m proud to come away with a win. It’s huge.”

Victories at this level rarely happen the way they did Friday.

Former University of Colorado golfer Emily Talley (left), who entered the day with a one-stroke lead, finished fifth at 216. Talley, a Symetra Tour player who is set to compete in her third Big Break competition on the Golf Channel, held a two-shot lead after the first three holes on Friday. But she lost the top spot by going bogey-double bogey on Nos. 4 and 5 and never could regain the lead, finishing with a 76.

“It was a rough start, but I tried to pull through,” she said. “It’s hard to think that if you parred every single hole (in the final round), you would have won. That (just about) never happens for a championship. That was unfortunate.

“But this is the first time I’ve ever been in the lead going into the final day (as a professional), so it was a good learning experience for sure.”

While Talley and the players near the lead might have felt some extra pressure on the final day, Dye had no such problem, starting Friday seven behind. A winner of one Symetra Tour title this year, Dye was free-wheeling it from the get-go and started the day with three consecutive birdies, including a 30-foot chip-in on No. 1.

“Today I knew I had nothing to lose,” she said. “I’ve shot 66 out here plenty of times. I thought it was actually going to take a little bit better than that today. But I like that we were (teeing off) earlier than what I was imagining. We had fresh greens; they rolled really good.”

After rounds of 73-74, Dye started Friday in 13th place, seven out of the lead. She teed off a full hour before the leaders for Friday’s final round.

But while just about everyone in front of her on the leaderboard spun their wheels or fell back on Friday, Dye took no prisoners. Her cool 66 not only matched the best of the tournament, but it was the only score in the 60s on Friday.

And it wasn’t hard to see how she did it. Dye needed just 21 putts — a stellar number by any measure — during the final round. She drained six putts of at least 15 feet in a seven-birdie, one-bogey day. That included a 23-foot birdie on No. 17 that moved her into a share of the lead.

“I kicked my personal record (previously 24 or 25 for a round) by a lot,” said the 27-year-old who posted a 3-under-par 213 total. “That’s pretty tough to beat.”

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