In Play with Tom Markowski

At 13, Dy of Traverse City proves she can compete with collegiate players and pros at Michigan Women's Open

Golf   | Tom Markowski

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Thompsonville – Get ready for the next big name in girls golf.

Anika Dy, a 13-year-old phenom from Traverse City, is already celebrity in Northern Michigan having had her 45 seconds of television fame as part of the National Drive, Pitch and Putt championships at Augusta, Ga., in April. Dy finished sixth in her age group (12-13) and received an applause from none other than two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson after Dy made a long putt on the 18th green at Augusta National (check it out on YouTube).

This week Dy made the cut at the 22nd Michigan Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain Resort and finished in a tie for 51st with a three-round total of 233. She opened with a 2-over par 74 on Monday on the Mountain Ridge Course before weather conditions sent scores skyward for the nearly everyone in the field of 112, 59 of whom were amateurs. She shot 81 on Tuesday and was 2-under after 15 holes on Wednesday before going 4 over on the final three for a 78.

Ally McDonald (Fulton, MS), playing in her first professional tournament after graduating from Mississippi State this spring, was one of just two players to break par carding a 2-under 70 to win with a 211 total. Kendall Martindale (Jefferson City, TN), who also competed in her first professional tournament, was second two shots behind. Martindale, a recent graduate from Vanderbilt, shot a final round 72.

Tied for third and finishing as the top amateurs at 2-under 214 were first and second round leader Emmie Pietila of Brighton and Hailey Hrynewich of Norton Shores.

Pietila, who plays at Tennessee, shot a tournament-best 64 on Monday but finished with rounds of 74 and 76. Hrynewich, who graduated from Muskegon Mona Shores and will be a junior at Ohio University, posted the best round of the day, a 4-under 68, to move up the leaderboard.

Pietila took a one-shot lead into the final round and said she was nervous.

 “I made a lot of club errors,” Pietila said. “You can’t have club selections cost you double bogey. I can’t blame my ball striking. It was the wind and mental (errors).

“It was a good lesson. It’s something you have to have. I have to be grateful for the experience.”    

All in all it was a good week for Dy. Just 15 amateurs shot better Dy who has yet to step foot in a high school classroom.  

Born on Port Huron, Dy (pronounced Dee) is 5-foot, one inch tall and will be a freshman at Traverse City West this fall and will, for the first time, play on a competitive golf team.

“It was fun,” Dy said of the tournament. “It was interesting. I wanted to make the cut here and I did. This is my home course. I expected to do well.”

Dy said it’s about a 30-to-40 minute drive from Traverse City to Crystal Mountain, longer in the wintertime. Her instructor is Scott Wilson. Wilson came to Crystal Mountain 21 years ago and in 1997 became the director of instruction at the resort’s academy and works side by side with Brad Dean, the director of golf.

Wilson said it’s a joy to teach good young players like Dy and her 11-year old sister, Anci. Anci also competed this week but did not make the cut. Wilson has taught the two for three years and he said their progress has been steady.

“It’s awesome,” Wilson said. “They’re part of the junior elite program here. We have about a core of six and they challenge each other. It’s fun.

“For someone (Anika) who was 10 when she came here, she had a good base. We’re trying to make her game complete. The most impressive thing is her ability to focus. When she gets locked in she does very well. We’re working on her decision-making. She had some good up-and-downs out there today. It’s a process.”

Among Wilson’s teaching priorities, especially for young players, is to keep the game fun.  

Dy’s got that part of the game down, too. When asked about what she remembers most about Augusta National she was quick to the point.

“Meeting Jordan Spieth,” she said. “I didn’t know how much fun I’d have until I got there. It was a lot of fun. I met Rory (McIlroy) and got about 50 autographs. They’re all in my room somewhere.”

Dy moved north at age nine and said she really enjoys living and playing golf in this area. Dy said she’s had a chance to meet some of her future teammates at West but isn’t sure what to expect.

“I don’t know what I’m in for,” she said.

Next for Dy and her sister is the 37th Michigan Girls Junior Amateur to be held Monday through July 9 at the Dearborn Country Club.