Friday, April 28, 2006

Teen Golfer Dowd Makes Ailing Mom Proud

REUNION, Fla. (AP) - Dakoda Dowd had two sets of three-putts, made three bogeys, finished nine shots off the lead and the 13-year-old doesn't expect to make the cut.

And in her mother's eyes, the day was perfect.

"Fantabulous," Kelly Jo Dowd said. "I have to make up my own vocabulary to describe it."

With one swing of the driver at 9:32 a.m. Thursday, and the 73 shots that followed over the next five hours, Dakoda made Kelly Jo's dream came true. The teen made her LPGA debut at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open, which extended the terminally ill mother a chance to see her daughter compete against the game's best.

Dakoda finished the day with a 2-over 74, nine shots behind Cristie Kerr. Yet for the first time in Dakoda's golf life, winning wasn't the goal, nor the plan.

"I didn't have any expectations for this tournament, except to go out there and have a great time and look over and see my mom," said Dakoda, a winner of more than 100 tournaments and ranked among the nation's best 13-year-old players. "It did feel good shooting 74. I'm just really happy to be here."

So is her mom, on a number of different levels.

Kelly Jo Dowd is fighting cancer for the second time in four years. She was given a clean bill of health after doctors believed she beat breast cancer, but she learned last year that she has terminal bone and liver cancer — and, conceivably, only months to live.

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