Former Mississippi State women’s golfer Ally McDonald was the solo leader after the first round of the ANA Inspiration pro tournament this past weekend in California. Photo by: Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications
April 9, 2019 11:30:59 AM
By PAUL D. BOWKER
The dive into the water will have to wait another year for Ally McDonald.
But a sixth-place finish Sunday in the ANA Inspiration women's golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage was almost just as special. McDonald, a former golfer at Mississippi State University, posted a career-best finish in the first women's major tournament of the year.
The winner, Ko Jin-young of South Korea, obliged with the traditional dive into a pond near the 18th green after the tournament ended.
That might be a scene McDonald will see one day.
"One of my major goals this year was to compete better in our majors," said McDonald, a Mississippi native from Fulton who was named to the All-SEC Team three times while at MSU.
McDonald was atop the field after shooting a 4-under-par 68 on Thursday.
"After the first round, I found myself in unfamiliar territory being the solo first-round leader," she said in a statement provided by MSU Athletics. "I am proud of myself for battling and staying in the tournament for a top 10 and my best finish in a major."
McDonald shot a 2-under 70, posting a 284 total and 4-under par. She finished six shots behind Jin-young, but was just two shots behind 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson, who was the highest-finishing American in third place.
McDonald won five individual titles while at State and still holds several school records, including lowest stroke average, most birdies and most rounds with a score in the 60s.
She joined the LPGA Tour in 2016. She played in 25 LPGA events in 2018, making the cut in 17 of them and winning more than $300,000. Her best finish has been tying for third place in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship last year.
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