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Dakoda Dowd - Dream Come True

KJLOGOwebAt the tender age of 13, Dakoda Dowd has not only witnessed a dream come true, she was its star player. Or perhaps “star golfer” would be more appropriate.

Dowd’s mother, Kelly Jo, is battling Stage IV metastasized breast cancer, and one of the things that has kept her going is her daughter’s amazing golfing skills and her own heart’s desire to see Dakoda participate in an LPGA tournament. That’s some dream.

Yet, through an amazing sequence of events, including the kindness and generosity of Bobby Ginn and the creative use of a sponsor’s exemption, Dakoda’s name was likely whispered during the recent LPGA tournament at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open as many or more times than those of other well-known players in her company. The likes of Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Birdie Kim, Jeong Jang, Grace Park, Meg Mallon, Karen Stupples and Hilary Lunke – all major winners some time during the last three years.

Dakoda, considered a golfing prodigy from Palm Harbor, Florida, was tied for 53rd after the first round, beating or tying 15 women who’ve combined to win 33 major championships. Her score of 74 on opening day spurred speculation that she might actually “make the cut,” and garnered much attention since she was only two strokes behind the world’s No. 1 women’s golfer, Annika Sorenstam. Dowd’s gallery on the course was only second to Sorenstam’s, as well, with nearly 300 watching her every move.

Dowd started strong the second day opening with three straight pars, but then followed with three bogeys on Nos. 4-6 and another on the ninth, pushing her to six-over for the tournament….two strokes off the eventual cut line.

Dowd’s parents didn’t care. It was never about making it or not making it – it was always about creating memories for Kelly Jo, Dakoda’s mom and biggest fan. The many tender moments between mother and daughter during Dakoda’s participation will long be remembered by those privileged enough to be present.

This very special young woman may not have “made the cut” where the LPGA was concerned, but she certainly did in the eyes of her parents and many others who stood by in what somehow became an amazingly intimate time on the green. Regardless of her youth, Dakoda earned the respect of observers and participants alike...and her presence there fulfilling her mother’s long-time wish, was a stark reminder of the uncertainty of life and where it could take any of us.

Realizing the joy brought by the completion of her mother’s dream, Dakoda had contacted the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation – a non-profit organization in the business of making dreams come true for metastasized breast cancer patients. Dakoda presented Making Memories with a check for $1,000 to help grant someone else’s wish. Dowd is not only a rising star in the golfing world, but out of her own family’s sorrow, she has embarked on a journey of helping others make memories…dreams that can never be stolen – even by breast cancer.