McDonald ties for 6th in LPGA

 

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.

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

 

 

 

By PAUL D. BOWKER 

 

[email protected] 

 

 

 

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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