Casey Danielson | 2021 Symetra Classic | Lede.jpeg

Casey Danielson shows off her winner's check after winning for the first time Sunday on the Symetra Tour.

If you are Casey Danielson, the only thing better than winning golf tournaments on the Symetra Tour is winning friends. She did both Sunday in Davidson, N.C.

The Osceola native broke through and won for the first time in her four years on the LPGA's developmental tour, birdieing three of her final five holes to force a playoff with Fatima Fernandez Cano before winning with a birdie on No. 18 on the second extra hole. Danielson shot her second consecutive 69 to finish at 6-under 210, catch Fernandez Cano (73) and ultimately walk away with the $26,250 winner's check, the largest of her professional career.

“It’s never good to lose, but if I am going to lose in a playoff, might as well do it to a friend,” Fernandez Cano told reporters afterward. “I am proud of Casey; she played really well (Sunday). I don’t know if the course was harder today or if I just played poorly, but she had a really good score. On a day like (Sunday), 3-under is really impressive."

Danielson, who turns 26 later this month, started the day five shots behind second-round leader Allison Emery and four shots behind Fernandez Cano and gained two shots on Emery and one on Fernandez Cano with a 1-under 35 on the front nine. Playing one group ahead of the leaders, Danielson was still two strokes behind Emery after a bogey at No. 13 kept her even-par for the day.

The complexion of the tournament, however, changed on 14th hole.

Danielson birdied the 167-yard, par-3 hole moments before Emery made bogey to pull even with the overnight leader. However, Fernandez Cano — despite bogeying three of her first four holes to start the back nine — was still one stroke ahead of Danielson and Emery.

A birdie at par-4, 15th hole helped Danielson catch Fernandez Cano, who then pulled one shot ahead with a birdie on the par-3 17th hole. However, Danielson knocked in a short birdie putt on No. 18 to move back into a share of the lead.

Two holes later, Danielson had outlasted Fernandez Cano for her first Symetra Tour triumph and third as a professional. She won the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in 2017 just months after wrapping up a decorated career at Stanford, but didn't win again until capturing a Cactus Tour event earlier this spring in Beaumont, Calif.

In between, Danielson recorded eight top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and 23 top-25s before winning Sunday in her 47th Symetra Tour event. Her $26,250 payday pushed her season earnings to $36,762  in five events and her career earnings to $146,176.

“I don’t know if it has really set in yet, but I am really excited, especially to win the Symetra Classic and be able to represent Symetra and the Tour,” Danielson said. “I really love this golf course here at River Run (Country Club). It’s really peaceful and it was a lot of fun with all the people watching especially in the playoff.”

Then again, Danielson felt at home all week. She told reporters that her host family — the Johnsons of nearby Mooresville — helped take her mind off of golf and that she clearly got good vibes from their daughter, Caroline, a high school sophomore who shot 76 earlier in the week and finished second at the NCHSAA 1A/2A Girls Golf State Championship at Pinehurst No. 8.

"They were so fun and so supportive and just excited to have me around," Danielson said. "We stayed up lots of nights chatting just about life so that was really fun. ... We just really connected and it was a lot of fun."

Life took on a new look for Danielson as she drove away from River Run.

Symetra Tour Race For The Card

Pos. Player Earnings
1, Ruixin Liu, Guangdong, China $67,220
2, Fatima Fernandez Cano, Santiago de Compostela, Spain $54,806
3, Lilia Vu, Fountain Valley, Calif. $44,620
4, Sophie Hausmann, Nottuln, Germany $41,632
5, Casey Danielson, Osceola, Wis. 36,762
6, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Sherbrooke, Quebec $33,382
7, Bailey Tardy, Norcross, Ga. $32.70
8, Isi Gabsa, Munich, Germany $28,502
9, Haylee Harford, Leavittsburg, Ohio $25,695
10, Morgane Metraux, Laussan, Switzerland $22,891

The victory helped her climb 17 spots in the “Race for the Card” to No. 5 with $36,762. The top 10 finishers in the season-long standings at the end of 2021 will earn exempt status on the LPGA Tour in 2022.

She will tee it up next in this week's IOA Golf Classic at Alaqua CC in Longwood, Fla., where she finished T-3 a year ago and T-9 in 2019. The Symetra Tour will stay in the Orlando area the following week for the Mission Inn & Club Championship in Howey-In-The-Hills.

“I am really excited to be going back to the Orlando area," Danielson said. "I have played at Alaqua a few times now and it always fun to go back there. It’s a really great course and a really great event, so I am looking forward to it."

While the thought of playing on the LPGA Tour might be more of a reality now than it was when she arrived in North Carolina, Danielson knows her breakthrough win is merely one step in the right direction. The four-time WIAA Division 2 state champion knows there are still 12 events to go before the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship in early October.

"Getting a win definitely gives me confidence and kind of that boost up the money list that I would need to make the top 10," Danielson said. "But there is still a lot of golf left this season and so I'm going to have fun (Sunday) night and celebrate and then, you know, keep my head down and keep working because it's not over until the last putt falls in October."

Symetra Tour: Osceola's Casey Danielson at Symetra Classic | FINAL results (Davidson, N.C.)

Pos. Player R1-R2-R3 Total To Par Earnings
Wisconsin leaderboard
1 Casey Danielson 72 - 69 - 69 210 -6 $26,250
Full leaderboard
1 Casey Danielson 72 - 69 - 69 210 -6 $26,250
2 Fatima Fernandez Cano 70 - 67 - 73 210 -6 $16,775
3 Allison Emrey 69 - 67 - 75 211 -5 $12,216
T4 Sophie Hausmann 70 - 72 - 70 212 -4 $8,579
T4 Isi Gabsa 69 - 73 - 70 212 -4 $8,579
T6 Weiwei Zhang 75 - 71 - 67 213 -3 $4,468
T6 Daniela Iacobelli 73 - 71 - 69 213 -3 $4,468
T6 Karen Chung 71 - 73 - 69 213 -3 $4,468
T6 Amanda Doherty 73 - 70 - 70 213 -3 $4,468
T6 Min-G Kim 69 - 74 - 70 213 -3 $4,468
T6 Vicky Hurst 69 - 72 - 72 213 -3 $4,468
T6 Frida Kinhult 68 - 73 - 72 213 -3 $4,468
13 Peiyun Chien 71 - 73 - 70 214 -2 $3,151
T14 Min Seo Kwak 73 - 72 - 70 215 -1 $2,812
T14 Nuria Iturrioz 71 - 73 - 71 215 -1 $2,812
T14 Lilia Vu 70 - 74 - 71 215 -1 $2,812
T17 Elin Arvidsson 74 - 72 - 70 216 E $2,348
T17 Cheyenne Woods 74 - 71 - 71 216 E $2,348
T17 Celine Borge 70 - 75 - 71 216 E $2,348
T17 Lucy Li 72 - 71 - 73 216 E $2,348
T17 Gabriela Ruffels 70 - 72 - 74 216 E $2,348
T22 Marissa Steen 73 - 73 - 71 217 1 $1,877
T22 Beth Wu 73 - 73 - 71 217 1 $1,877
T22 Louise Ridderstrom 71 - 74 - 72 217 1 $1,877
T22 Haylee Harford 70 - 75 - 72 217 1 $1,877
T22 Julienne Soo 73 - 71 - 73 217 1 $1,877
T22 Yan Liu 71 - 73 - 73 217 1 $1,877
T22 Rachel Rohanna 70 - 73 - 74 217 1 $1,877
T22 Yaeeun Hong 70 - 72 - 75 217 1 $1,877
T30 Maria Parra 76 - 70 - 72 218 2 $1,515
T30 Ji Eun Baik 71 - 74 - 73 218 2 $1,515
T30 Ana Belac 72 - 72 - 74 218 2 $1,515
T30 Min Lee 71 - 73 - 74 218 2 $1,515
T34 Robyn Choi 75 - 72 - 72 219 3 $1,243
T34 Lee Lopez 74 - 73 - 72 219 3 $1,243
T34 Ingrid Gutierrez Nunez 69 - 78 - 72 219 3 $1,243
T34 Louise Stahle 72 - 74 - 73 219 3 $1,243
T34 Lisa Pettersson 71 - 75 - 73 219 3 $1,243
T34 Kendra Dalton 70 - 76 - 73 219 3 $1,243
T34 Marta Sanz Barrio 71 - 73 - 75 219 3 $1,243
T41 Lindsey McCurdy 75 - 72 - 73 220 4 $977
T41 Maddie McCrary 74 - 73 - 73 220 4 $977
T41 Katelyn Dambaugh 71 - 76 - 73 220 4 $977
T41 Mia Landegren 71 - 76 - 73 220 4 $977
T41 Kyung Kim 77 - 69 - 74 220 4 $977
T41 Morgane Metraux 73 - 73 - 74 220 4 $977
T41 Kim Kaufman 72 - 74 - 74 220 4 $977
T48 Julie Aime 74 - 73 - 74 221 5 $801
T48 Daniela Darquea 73 - 74 - 74 221 5 $801
T48 Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras 72 - 74 - 75 221 5 $801
T48 Hexi Yuan 72 - 74 - 75 221 5 $801
T48 Sierra Sims 71 - 74 - 76 221 5 $801
T48 Karah Sanford 74 - 70 - 77 221 5 $801
T54 Janet Mao 73 - 72 - 77 222 6 $715
T54 Dottie Ardina 70 - 75 - 77 222 6 $715
T54 Prima Thammaraks 69 - 75 - 78 222 6 $715
T57 Gigi Stoll 72 - 75 - 76 223 7 $669
T57 Clariss Guce 72 - 75 - 76 223 7 $669
T59 Min A Yoon 74 - 73 - 77 224 8 $633
T59 Sierra Brooks 71 - 76 - 77 224 8 $633
61 Olivia Benzin 76 - 71 - 78 225 9 $615
62 Ana Ruiz Laphond 74 - 73 - 79 226 10 $606
63 Linnea Johansson 73 - 74 - 80 227 11 $597

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