Detroit – It’s been a while for Shasta Averyhardt. It has never been for Anita Uwadia.
The duo, who met last year and played together on the LPGA’s evolving Symetra Tour earlier this year, teamed up to shoot a ’68 final round to win the first John Shippen on Monday afternoon at Detroit Golf Club. Averyhardt of Flint and Uwadia, a recent University of South Carolina graduate, received the exception for next month’s LPGA Tour tournament in Midland, the Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
It is Uwadia’s debut on the LPGA Tour and Averyhardt’s first appearance on the LPGA Tour since 2013.
“We’ll take it and are very grateful for the opportunity,” said Averyhardt, 35, who played on the LPGA Tour in Jackson State in 2011 and 2013.
Uwadia, 23, a native of Britain, said, “That definitely means a lot.”
The Shippen was developed with Intersport, Woods and Watts Effect and the Rocket Mortgage Classic to create opportunities and break down barriers for black professional and amateur golfers. The women’s part of this year’s event was a team event, because that’s the format in Midland. Men’s champion Timothy O’Neal, 48, also from Jackson State, will be playing at the Rocket Mortgage Classic this week.
Monday’s format was the women’s best and Uwadia came up with a series of birdies, five in all, including 15th and 17th places. The one with 15 was a chip-in, a swing build-up after paring the par. 5 14.
The duo shot a 4 under 68 on Monday, after a 1 over 73 in the harder alternative shot format on Sunday.
They won by two strokes from Breanne Jones (Riverside, California) and Sierra Sims (Austin, Texas). They wanted to take part in a three-hole shoot for a place in the Cognizant Founders Cup in Orlando in October.
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The day’s work was done for Averyhardt and Uwadia – and what a day’s work it was.
“Today she was happy to carry me. I’ll be honest with you, “said Averyhardt and nodded to Uwadia. “She really did all the birdies.
“We just fed each other. We worked really well together. … We made sure we communicated every shot. … In a way, it was as if she were my caddy and I was her caddy. “
Uwadia said, “The way we voted together was really nice.”
Averyhardt played professionally until 2014, then, frustrated with her game and frankly unable to continue, she went to become a tax advisor at Price Waterhouse Cooper.
She returned to the Symetra Tour in 2018 and has done five cuts in the past three years.
She took the opportunity to play on the first John Shippen, which is now sending her back on the LPGA tour – and, more special, only about 70 miles from her hometown of Flint.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Averyhardt, who made her decision to return to touring golf to fund it through GoFundMe. “I see it as just another tournament, of course, but I think it will mean a lot more.
“I just want to represent my city well.”
Twitter: @ tonypaul1984