Las Vegas, Nev. (Sept. 12, 2016)—It’s about time people stopped counting former UNLV Women’s Golf All-American Dana Finkelstein out. She has pretty much proved people wrong her entire life and she’s done it again by cruising to a four shot victory on Sunday at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes. Finkelstein carded a 1-under, 71 to finish at 11-under, 277 for the four-day tournament. She is now this close to living her dream to play the LPGA Tour. –By Brian Hurlburt.
“I believe I will be successful and play on the LPGA Tour full time,” Finkelstein told this writer earlier this year before embarking on the Symetra Tour. “I am committed to my goal, and I will do whatever it takes to reach it. My time at UNLV was special, and I am proud of my career, and what the team and I accomplished during my four years as a Rebel.”
Finkelstein, who led wire-to-wire at Garden City, moved from 13th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to fourth with her first career win and now has earned $73,282. The top 10 earn official LPGA Tour playing privileges for next season.
“I’m still at a loss for words winning by four shots,” said Finkelstein in an LPGA Tour press release. “I came into the day with a five shot lead and thinking even-par would get it done and I shot 71 so I’m very happy.”
Finkelstein made a short par putt on 18 to wrap up the win and then was doused with water and blue Gatorade, which is her favorite, by Tour friends Clariss Guce, Jenny Coleman and Kristin Coleman.
“It’s pretty amazing getting water thrown on me by my friends,” said an overjoyed Finkelstein. “To have their support means a lot. I couldn’t do it without them. All the practice rounds and dinners makes me give lots of thanks to them.”
Finkelstein opened with three pars and then made a 3-footer for birdie on four and then a downhill putt on seven. She also saved par on nine to hold a seven shot lead at the turn.
“I really felt like it was my week from the moment I got here, I really liked the golf course,” said Finkelstein, who made just four bogeys over the 72 holes. “My ball striking was really good so I never got into trouble and when I did I made the putts.”
Finkelstein, 23, who stands just 5-feet one inches tall, has overcome doubters throughout her golf career.
“To all the people that said I could never do it, here is to them,” said Finkelstein. “My whole career, I’ve had the mentality of proving people wrong and it is fun when you get to do it.”
Finkelstein started working this past offseason with Brian Chandler at Anthem Fitness in Las Vegas.
“I’ve been feeling great in the gym and in the off weeks I see him,” explained Finkelstein. “I’m happy to get on the wall of champions at the facility. Ryan Moore (PGA TOUR) beat me to it, but I think I’m second and that is pretty good company.”
The 2015 runner-up for the ANNIKA Award at UNLV, made 15 birdies against four bogeys during the four rounds.
“This win is huge, especially now with four events left,” said Finkelstein. “I knew I had to make a move eventually and I’m really happy to have done it this week. I still think I need to play well over the final four weeks and hopefully that will lock my card for 2017.”