KINGSVILLE — Sadie Dewinton-Davies, at first, wasn’t too keen on golf, but there is something about getting very good very quickly that can change one’s mind.
Born in Wales, she grew up in a household where doing family things together was important. Her older brothers, Ashley and Mitchell, played golf, so she would tag along carrying their golf bags.
“I hated it to begin with, but we always did everything together. So then, I’d go to the golf course with them, carry their bag and then after a while I was like, OK, let’s get into this,” she said.
Dewinton-Davies, 25, started playing at age 12 and by 14 she was a member of the Welsh junior team, playing tournaments throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe. She later earned a full-ride golf scholarship to Western Texas Junior College in the U.S. She stayed in Texas for two years and later transferred to the University of Southern Florida, a Division 1 NCAA school. It was in Florida that she met her Canadian husband, Chris Wilson.
Both are now teaching pros at the Kingsville Golf and Country Club, but Dewinton-Davies’ ultimate goal is to earn her living on the LPGA Tour.
On July 4 and 5 Dewinton-Davies will be one of 72 golfers playing in the Ororo PGA Women’s Championship at the Kingsville golf course.
The winner of the tournament wins an exemption to the CP Women’s Open, an LPGA event scheduled Aug. 21 to 27 at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver.
A win for Dewinton-Davies would be a big boost to her pro career.
Unlike men’s golf, women’s golf has fewer opportunities to hone one’s competitive skills on feeder tours. For the men, there is the Korn-Ferry Tour, the MacKenzie Tour in Canada, the European Tour, its feeder tours and the many mini tours in the southern United States.
Dewinton-Davies said the Kingsville event gives her more options.
“With women’s golf the only way for you to get to the Epson Tour or the LPGA is through (qualifying) school. I find with the men there are a lot more things you can do, like you play in a certain event or you obtain a certain ranking and you get all these different kinds of exemptions and stuff, where women’s golf doesn’t seem to be like that,” she said.
Dewinton-Davies has gone to Q-school and has limited status on the Epson Tour. She said the life of an aspiring tour player can be expensive: $10,000 US in fees and expenses to play at the women’s qualifying school and another $40,000 in travel and living expenses if she makes it on to Epson Tour full-time.
To keep her expenses to a minimum, Dewinton-Davies will play in Monday qualifiers for Epson Tour tournaments in nearby states like Michigan and Ohio.
“There are a few in the north of the U.S., close to here, so (I’ll) strike across the border and play a few of the Mondays.”
Before turning pro Dewinton-Davies had a plus-4 handicap, which means she would consistently shoot rounds of 4-under par.
The Welsh native has no problem getting off the tee, hitting drives of 260 to 270 yards, which would put her among the top golfers on the LPGA. Canada’s Brooke Henderson, a multiple winner on the LPGA and a former player at the Ororo PGA Women’s Championship, hits drives a similar distance.
Like many golfers, amateur and pro, Dewinton-Davies said she needs more work on her short game.
“Yes, I hit it decently far. It’s my putting that has been letting me down.”
Doug Quick, manager of the Kingsville golf course, said winning the tournament in July would be a boost to Dewinton-Davies’ pro career
“This is another step on the journey…. It tests their skills amongst their peers, allows them to evaluate what they need to do to improve upon and if, in fact, they have what it takes to get to the next level,” he said.
Local golfers invited to pro-am event
In the lead-up to the Ororo PGA Women’s Championship of Canada this July at the Kingsville Golf and Country Club, there will be a pro-am event which will give local golfers a chance to rub shoulders will the pros.
The pro-am will be held July 3, followed by the two-day tournament.
Entries are now open to all local golfers looking to play with up-and-coming women golfers aspiring to play on the LPGA.
“The event is now open to non-members and the interest is very high,” said club general manager Doug Quick.
The fees per golfer are $175 for Kingsville members, $225 for non-members. The fee includes a gift, lunch and dinner, a cart and prizes.
Club member Trevor Whaling, from the Investors Group, will be the tournament sponsor.
“Trevor is a keen golfer and has previous experience sponsoring a Mackenzie Tour Pro-Am and he’s passionate about assisting young players and promoting the game,” Quick said.
All tee times are in the afternoon.