By Bill Burt
---- — Andover native Jaclyn Sweeney had a dream when she started playing golf seriously at the age of 13.
Of course, she wanted to play on the LPGA Tour.
Well, her dream has come true. Sweeney finished 10th in the money list as the Symetra Tour came to a finish on Sunday.
And guess what? The top 10 women earn an exemption as a full-time LPGA player in 2014.
“I am very excited,” the 24-year-old Sweeney said. “It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing, playing golf as a professional at the highest level.”
Sweeney, who was a three-time finalist in the Ladies Allan B. Rogers Memorial Golf Tournament, entered the weekend in 10th place and shot rounds of 70, 73, 73 and 72 to finish even-par, and 10th overall to claim her card.
At the age of 15, Sweeney moved to Florida to play golf at IMG Academies in Bradenton, a multi-sport education and athletic facility known for nurturing young athletes.
It was a tough sell on her parents, but they relented, with her mother, Della, moving down with her.
“I kind of had to push my parents into letting me go,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney now has three months until the start of the LPGA season in January and said she plans to take about two weeks away from the clubs.
“It’s the first vacation I’ve taken off from golf in a long, long time,” she said.
She is currently working toward her college degree in communications at Arizona State, and will be graduating in January.
“It’s very important that I get my college degree. I realize I can’t do this forever,” she said. “So the next three months, I’ll be practicing and studying.”
Sweeney’s dad, Joe, was with her in Orlando for the Symetra Tour Championship when she found out she earned her tour card.
“He has been so supportive of me my entire life,” Sweeney said. “He was my caddy last week and he was with me while I was going crazy, trying to figure out if I got that 10th spot. My entire family has been behind me, including my mom, my sister and her husband (married in June).
“I couldn’t have done this without a lot of support.”
Sweeney said she plans to be back in the Andover area in a few weeks to visit her family.
Bill Burt is executive sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune and a regular contributing columnist for the Andover Townsman. If you have any sports tidbits you’d like to share, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Competed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship
AJGA All-American Honorable Mention selection
Competed in the Women’s British Open
Named Golfweek First Team All-American
Big 12 Newcomer of the Year at Oklahoma State University
Member of the Pac-10, NCAA National Championship team at Arizona State University
NGCA Honorable Mention All-American
Golfweek Third Team All-American honors
Second Team All-Pac 10
U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship medalist