The Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic Qualifier will feature twelve of the area’s top golfers with a handicap of 4.0 or better competing on Tuesday, July 5 at Brook-Lea Country Club for one spot in the tournament.  The Qualifier is sponsored by Morgan Stanley and run by the Rochester District Golf Association.

Player College/Hometown To Par Score Comments
Alexandra “AJ” Newell University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

Even 72 Applied for sponsor invite and was invited to play in qualifier
Aimee Caligiore St. Lawrence University ‘

Lake Placid, NY

+1 73 Played in this year’s Symetra Event in Albany, NY
Amira Alexander Kent State University

Atlanta, Georgia

+1 73 Golf career started at Genesee Valley CC
Laura Restrepo University of Louisville

Louisville KY

+3 75 Girlfriend of Trevor Sluman
Jenna Hoecker Stetson University

Rochester, NY

+4 76 Daughter of Golf Pro Jon Hoecker at BLCC
Lauren Petty West Georgia State U

Asst. Golf Coach

Syracuse, NY

+4 76 Played in Symetra events in Syracuse as Section 3 Champ
Sarah Eichelberger Towson State University Rochester, NY +6 78 Long time Brook Lea member

About AJ Newell:

AJ Newell left her thirty five foot downhill birdie attempt one inch from the hole to make par and win the Morgan Stanley Qualifying Event, and earned the final spot in the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic with an even par 72. Newell narrowly defeated Aimee Caligiore of Lake Placid NY, and Amira Alexander of Atlanta, GA by one shot with a solid one under par back nine and a great finishing hole propelling her into her first ever Symetra Tour event.

qualifier winner newell

 

Newell had “No idea of what the other girls were doing out there” but was convinced after her practice round that even par was the number she needed to shoot to contend for the win, and she was right. “ The golf course was fantastic, and the greens were extremely challenging. In our practice round we figured out where we wanted to hit the ball and how we wanted to approach each green and it worked well.”

 

Newell, from Knoxville, TN and like her parents is a University of Tennessee grad, was inspired by the recent passing of legendary UT Women’s basketball coach Pat Summit’s passing. “What we all realized was that Coach Summit was not only our coach, but the whole world’s coach. She did so much for women’s sports. One of her quotes was that ‘it is not only the most talented players that achieve success, but those who work the hardest’ and I thought a lot about that before my round today.”

 

“For me to be coming here to Rochester, which is one of the best Women’s golf towns in America to play my first LPGA Symetra Tour event is amazing.”

 

Jenna Hoecker of Brook-Lea CC had the lead with a one under par 35 after the front nine, but a few errant drives led to bogeys and opened the door for the field to catch her and eventually overtake her. “My driver is usually my best club, so I was really disappointed that it hurt me on the back nine. It would have been awesome to play in the tournament, but I am thankful for the opportunity that I had, and just wish it had ended differently.”

 

Caligiore made a strong push over her last three holes, dropping a 30 foot birdie putt on 16, and then hitting her approach on the difficult 17th hole to 8 feet from 150 yards out, and making birdie. She then hit her approach on 18 to about 12 feet, but her birdie putt just missed, and she finished a shot behind.

 

Tournament Chairman was thrilled with the competition. “It was really fun for us to watch these talented young players battle for 18 holes and make such great shots down the stretch. It really gets us excited for next week, and we are thrilled to add another talented player like AJ to our field.”

 

The Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic runs from July 11-17, and volunteer opportunities and tickets are available at www.danielledowneyclassic.com/tickets