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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nicole Morales to Test Her Game Against the Pros

photo courtesy of Ping Jr. Solheim Cup
Former Westchester resident Nicole Morales was given a sponsor exemption for the Symetra Tour’s Insurance Office of America Golf Classic at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood, FL, March 28-30. Morales moved to Florida from South Salem to work with her mentor, Cheryl Anderson, in her last year before heading off to the University of Alabama. The two struck up a winning relationship when Anderson was a teaching pro at Wykagyl CC in New Rochelle.

In a statement from the Symetra Tour, Morales said, “This is the opportunity that I have been dreaming for,” said Morales.  “I’ve been really working hard this year, I moved down to Florida for my senior year of high school so that I can train for that next level so when I found out I was so ecstatic.”

She will be part of a 144-player field competing for a share of a $100,000 purse in the event.

Morales is the top-ranked player nationally on the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings.  She also is ranked No. 2 in the American Junior Golf Association's Polo rankings and No. 27 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

“This event is so close to my home, it is literally ten minutes from our apartment and it is exactly the place where I’d love to start out,” said Morales, who trains with Volvik Championship winner Kim Kaufman.  “I want to see where I can compare myself to the women on the Symetra Tour.”

The IOA Golf Classic will mark Morales’ second career Symetra Tour event.  She was a sponsor exemption at the 2012 Credit Union Challenge in Albany, N.Y.  Morales made the cut and finished T30 as a then 15-year-old.

Morales has proven herself as a star on the amateur circuit.  She won the 2013 AJGA Thunderbird Invitational, her second career amateur victory.  Last year, she also finished third at the Dixie Amateur, T4 at the AJGA Ping Invitational, T4 at the Duke of Young Champions Trophy and T4 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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