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NORTON, Massachusetts – Massachusetts has been very good for Canada’s Celeste Dao in the past three years and Monday at Norton’s TPC Boston proved no different as the 18-year old shot an 8-over 152 in 36 holes then sank a one-foot putt on the second playoff hole to clinch a spot in the 74th U.S. Women’s Open Championship later this month. This marks the second straight year that Dao, a native of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, Quebec who resides in Victoria, British Columbia, has earned both medalist honors and low-amateur honors en route to qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship here in the Bay State. One year ago, she advanced to the U.S. Women’s Open after qualifying at Cape Cod National Golf Club and in 2017, she qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship from the designated Massachusetts qualifier.
Celeste Dao (Canada) – Medalist
Mia Landegren (Connecticut) – First Alternate
Valerie Tanguay (Canada) – Second Alternate
After carding a 6-over 78 in her first 18-holes of competition on Monday, Dao, who will compete for the University of Georgia Women’s Golf Team beginning this fall, cut four strokes off her round in her second 18 holes, registering two birdies to four bogeys to finish in a three-way tie for first place with Bridgewater, Connecticut’s Mia Landegren & fellow Canadian Valerie Tanguay.
After all three competitors made par on their first playoff hole – the par-4 17th hole on the TPC layout – Dao’s approach shot from nearly 95 yards out on the par-5 18th hole landed only a foot from the flagstick and a routine putt secured her victory when her fellow opponents couldn’t upend her birdie effort.
“I’m so excited. Right now, I am just happy that I won in a playoff. I wasn’t expecting it, especially not after my first round, but I am just so happy,” said Dao following her day, which started at 8:31 a.m. off the first tee at TPC Boston and finally finished more than 11 hours later.
Following her center-of-the-fairway drive on the second playoff hole, Dao’s second shot landed in an old divot in front of rock just shy of 100 yards from the hole. With little room for error, she was able to catapult her ball up on to the green, where a smooth roll helped near her to victory.
“Instead of playing my full sand wedge, I took an extra half swing and it turned out perfectly and I used the slope to roll to one foot,” she explained following her play.
Now making her return to the U.S. Women’s Open, the second year member of Canada’s Junior National Team hopes that her experience from one year ago will help carry her much further this time around.
“Well last year, it was a great ice-breaker because I was very nervous and I didn’t make the cut, but this year, I am expecting, and it is my goal, to make the cut,” said Dao following her two rounds and subsequent two-hole playoff. “I think I will do better because I have more experience now.”
Among her many notable performances in her young career, Celeste Dao captured both the 2018 Mexican Junior Girls Championship and the 2018 Golf Quebec Girls Provincial Junior Championship. Entering Monday’s qualifier, she ranked 306 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Following the playoff, it was Landegren who earned first alternate position while Tanguay took the second alternate position.
Among the locals in the field, Alison Walshe (Westford, Mass.) placed fourth with a 10-over 154 mark in 36-holes.
Dao will join Bay Staters Shannon Johnson, of Norton, the reigning U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, as well LPGA players Megan Khang (Rockland, Mass.) and Brittany Altomare (Shrewsbury, Mass.) in the Championship Proper, being contested at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina from May 30-June 2, 2019.
Mass Golf will provide coverage for the Massachusetts competitors in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship from May 30-June 2. Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf and #USWomensOpen.