Becca DiNunzio of Norfolk, Virginia took home the LPGA Pure Silk Championship Junior Invitational title and earned a bid into the LPGA championship’s Monday Qualifier.
She carded a tournament total 4-under-par to win the event. DiNunzio fired a first-round 67(-4) and an even-par (front nine) final round. However, DiNunzio’s win did not come uncontested. She said it was nice to have a win so close to home and she is excited to bring the trophy back to all those who were rooting for her back in Norfolk.
After DiNunzio captured a commanding lead over her competition the first day, she left a lot of work for the rest of the field to do with only nine holes to make it happen.
Trailing DiNunzio by three strokes after the opening round was Clemson University commit and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina native Katherine Schuster. She opened the final round with a birdie to put pressure on DiNunzio. By Hole No. 8 Schuster had tied the lead with two holes left to play.
“With [Schuster] coming out on fire, I had to stay as steady as possible especially knowing I was running out of time and there were difficult holes coming up” DiNunzio said.
According to DiNunzio, the pins were placed in very difficult positions. “My goal wasn’t any different than the day before—just hit fairways and greens,” she said. “My strategy was to put every shot in the middle of the green to make sure she wouldn’t throw any of her shots away.”
And sure enough DiNunzio continued to par her way to victory. However, as the pressure rose for Schuster, the eighth proved to be a challenge after she hit her first approach shot heavy and short of the green then followed with a third shot over the green. Schuster would ultimately double-bogey eight and leave DiNunzio with a two stroke lead going into the final hole.
DiNunzio was the first to hit off the fairway placing her ball in the middle of the green for a chance to two putt and make nine straight pars on the final day. Schuster in a last ditch effort to force a playoff hit her second shot pin high. As the ball landed and checked on the green it spun back within inches of the hole. Schuster would putt out for birdie while DiNunzio two putted for par and the title.
Vynie Chen of Centerville, Virginia rounded out the Top 3 with an exciting comeback, after an opening round 74 (+3). She was able to finish even-par during the final round to secure solo third.
As stated DiNunzio will face-off against LPGA professional golfers at the Monday Qualifier of the LPGA Pure Silk Championship, Monday, May 20th. She is the top-ranked girl’s golfer in Virginia for the Class of 2019 and has recently committed to attend Virginia Tech.
“I am really looking forward to playing with the women in the Monday Qualifier,” DiNunzio said. “It is really an honor to earn a spot in the qualifier and I’m going to try and learn as much as I can.”
Director of Golf at Kingsmill Resort and LPGA PureSilk Championship Tournament Director, Matthew Schulze, PGA, was excited to have a local girl win the event. “It makes it all the more special,” he said.
“I think if we continue to try and build the junior invitational we can make it one of the best girls golf tournaments in the area,” said Schulze. “Anytime we can give back to the junior golfers and help them play at the collegiate or professional level is very important and very special.”
The Middle Atlantic PGA would like to thank all the girls who came out to play in the event and would also like to thank Kingsmill Resort for hosting us so close to the LPGA Pure Silk Championship. Good luck during the qualifier Becca! We are rooting for you.