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Sophia Dyer Emerges as 95th Women’s Golf Amateur Champion in Dramatic Fashion

Sophia Dyer emerged as the 95th Women’s Amateur Champion in dramatic fashion. The Team Florida member found herself in a seemingly insurmountable hole, in which escaping appeared unlikely. Dyer started the championship match against One Kashima and things were not exactly going as planned for Dyer. Kashima drilled a birdie putt into the center of the cup on the sixth hole to go four up on Dyer and then stepped up to the tee of the seventh hole, a par 3, and stuck it to about 7 feet. Despite the circumstances, Dyer calmly teed her ball up next and took a few smooth practice swings before winding back and striking her ball to about four feet. She sank her birdie putt while Kashima made a par, and slowly Dyer began to chisel away at the lead Kashima had over her.

Fast forward to another win on the 12th hole for Dyer and the pair were tied for the first time. Suddenly, we had a match on our hands and the trophy could belong to either one of these two talented players. However, it was on the 16th hole where Dyer took the lead for the first time with only two holes left to play. The pair each made par on the 17th and headed to the last hole with Dyer one up on Kashima. A birdie on the final hole sealed the deal for Dyer as she went from a four-hole deficit to defeating her opponent two up. It was a win for the FSGA history books, and Dyer described it as, “Without a doubt, one of my most memorable wins. It made it even more special that I started out 4 down through 6, but I feel like I proved to myself and everyone else how strong I am mentally. All the work that I have put in with my mental coach has really paid off.” Dyer further explained, “It’s all about staying in the process and just staying patient.”

A memorable win was only fitting for the 95th Women’s Amateur Championship. It was a special year for the tournament and such a treat to have the Bear’s Club host. Dyer explained how it felt to compete at the Bear’s Club, “It was really special. I mean, that course is just unbelievable and it was so fun. It was really a test for everyone’s game in every way. We’re all just really lucky to play on a course of that caliber.” Dyer even stated, “All throughout the practice round I just kept saying over and over, gosh I love this tournament.”

With this win, Dyer also earned an exemption into the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship which takes place in August at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dyer competed last year in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Bel-Air Country Club and she missed the cut by one stroke. She said, “It was amazing playing the U.S. Women’s Am last year. Even though I missed by one, it really fueled me to want it even more this year and now I am really excited to go back.”

Dyer explains that playing in FSGA events has helped her to feel comfortable on the national stage. “All the Florida players are so lucky to play for the FSGA. The competition is so elite and all the tournaments are so well run that it helps me to feel comfortable moving up because I feel so prepared.” Yet, the U.S. Women’s Amateur championship will not be Dyer’s only USGA appearance for the 2024 season. The St. Petersburg native qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior the day after winning the Women’s Amateur. She described that she was still on a mental high from her win, but physically she was exhausted. It was a challenging 18 holes, but she pulled through to secure a spot in her second USGA championship for the season. Dyer explained that she had her best friend and fellow Team Florida member, Bella Dovhey, caddying for her at the qualifier which helped her get through the round.  

Dyer earned a spot on Team Florida for the second consecutive year. Team Florida is an awards program that identifies the top 40 junior golfers from around the state. The competitors that make up this team not only show a remarkable talent for golf, but demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship and etiquette for the game. Dyer spoke about her time as a Team Florida member, “I love it. Some of my best friends are on that team and we really just feel like a family. It’s great to have that group around at all the tournaments. We’re just treated so well on the team and it’s so awesome to be a part of.” It is rewarding to see the members of Team Florida helping each other out at tournaments and cheering one another on even though they still compete with and against each other. The FSGA obviously provides many competitions for players at each level of journey, however it is the community aspect that is sometimes hard to achieve when competing. Yet, amongst other things, Team Florida helps to bridge the gap. Dyer said, “Bella and I were just having fun at the Girls’ Junior qualifier. She kind of distracted me which allowed me to just play golf.”

Dyer, who started playing at 8 years old, explains that she comes from a golfing family. Her older brother, Blake, played at the University of Florida following in the footsteps of their father who also played golf at the University of Florida. Her parents were with her during the Women’s Amateur and had the pleasure of watching her capture the win on Father’s Day. Dyer said, “It was all so amazing. My dad is my number one fan and it was just so special to get the win for him on Father’s Day.”

It certainly was a remarkable victory, perfectly befitting for the 95th year of the illustrious championship. Golf is such a unique sport where one of the greatest challenges lies in balancing the precision of control with the unpredictable nature of the game. Dyer understands the challenge as she left with these parting words about her victory and the game of golf, “Golf is just such a hard sport. You can’t force anything. And you really just have to stay in your process and control the things you can control. Then, whatever happens over that ball, you just have to accept it because you can’t control it if you make a good swing, or get a bad bounce. It really is just about accepting what happens and then deciding what you can do next.”

By ML Staff. Content/Image courtesy of FSGA


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