JODI Ewart made a successful start to her pro career when she finished tied fifth in the $110,000 Ladies Titan Tire Challenge at Cedar Rapids in Iowa.
The 22-year-old, from Catterick, shared the lead in the tournament for the first two rounds and was still tied for the top spot with nine holes to play on her debut on the US Duramed Futures Tour.
But as eventual winner Christine Song pulled away, with four birdies on the back nine, the Yorkshire golfer dropped back with four bogeys, including one on each of the last three holes and she ended the tournament on three-under par (68 70 75) while Song was 11-under (69 69 67).
“I played very similar to yesterday on the front nine,” said Jodi, who passed up the chance of further Curtis Cup honours to make her professional debut.
“I wasn’t nervous, but I just made terrible shots on the back nine.
“I couldn’t get anything to drop all day. I was very disappointed that I bogeyed the last three holes, but overall it’s good.”
Jodi, who won $3,132, (£2,102) is aiming to finish in the top 10 by the end of the season and win her card for the 2011 LPGA Tour.
Before turning professional recently, Jodi was one of England’s top amateurs. She won the English strokeplay championship twice, was an England international and a Curtis Cup player. She was ranked fourth in US college golf at the end of her four years at the University of New Mexico, where she was lauded as one of the best players the university has had.
Richard Stevens, senior writer for the UNM and a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune, said: “If she played her game in The Pit, smashed her drives in University Stadium, then maybe one of the greatest Lobos ever – in any sport – would be a household name.”
Stevens posed the question: “Is Jodi Ewart the greatest woman golfer to ever play at the University of New Mexico? The numbers and the wins scream out like a Ewart drive. The only answer is yes.
“She has won more golf tournaments and more league titles than any Lobo (UNM nickname) before her. The two-time All-American is UNM’s career leader in stroke average. The top three season-stroke averages belong to Ewart as well as the program’s 54-hole scoring record.
“Only one Lobo – in any sport – has ever been named Mountain West Conference Player of The Year as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. And that’s Ewart.”
Ewart’s golf coach at university, Jill Trujillo, said: “Something clicked in her where she wanted to be one of the very best players in America, and she was willing to put in the work to get there.
“She has such determination and she put that determination to work on the practice course.
“When I saw Jodi, I thought, this girl is something special,” said Trujillo, who then invited Ewart to come to UNM. Jodi was also was considering USC and Arizona State, but after she visited UNM, she liked the feel of Albuquerque and loved the UNM golf facilities.”
The rest, as they say, is history except that Jodi has now turned professional and joined the Futures Pro Tour where a top 10 finish will give her an LPGA card and put her on course to become the most successful woman professional from the North East.