She may not be the next Michelle Wie or Morgan Pressel, but 12-year-old Dakoda Dowd will see her dream of competing on the LPGA Tour come true next season, according to a published report in the St. Petersburg Times.
Dowd will receive a sponsor's exemption into the inaugural Ginn Clubs and Resorts Open, to be played April 27-30 in Orlando.
But it's not necessarily cause for celebration. Dowd's mother, Kelly Jo, has cancer that has advanced incurably to the liver and bones.
"We just felt it was the right thing to do," Ryan Julison, senior vice president of corporate communications for the Ginn Co., told the paper. "Dakoda's dream was to play professionally and her mother is fighting to stay alive to see that happen. We didn't think that goal would be fulfilled given the situation with Dakoda's mother. "This gives her a chance."
Kelly Jo Dowd is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
"Every day Kelly fights," said Dakoda's father, Mike. "She goes through chemo and all the pain so she spend a little more with me and her daughter. She wants so much to see Dakoda make it.
"This is something that will definitely be memorable for all of us."
As for the Dakoda's chances at the event? She finished in second place at last year's Florida Class A high school region tournament, but has no illusions about winning.
"It's unbelievable to have that kind of opportunity," Dowd said. "I'm kind of nervous to play on such a big course with so many great players."
Dowd and Wie are the two players given exemptions into the LPGA event.