July 17, 2021
Rochester doesn’t have a lot to call its own in a sports sense. If you live here, chances are you are a fan of the Buffalo Bills and Syracuse basketball. An hour either side of us. But we do take pride in our people. It’s what we do best.
Danielle Downey was a sports star at Spencerport High School. A 1000-point scorer and All Greater Rochester in basketball, she also played on the boys’ golf team. Danielle won the state women’s amateur title three straight years from 1999 to 2001. By then she was on scholarship at Auburn University where she won the Southeast Conference Golf title in 2000 and two years later placed second in the NCAA Championships. At the US Amateur, Danielle scored a double eagle. An albatross, if you will, by carding a two on a 450-yard par five hole at Sleepy Hollow in Tarrytown.
Downey earned her LPGA Tour card in 2007 and in 2008 finished fourth at a pro event in Alabama. It was the best finish of her five-year career. She returned to Auburn as a coach and athletic administrator. But was community oriented and returned home often.
Then on January 30, 2014, Danielle was killed in a single car crash. She was 33.
Danielle Downey, along with Cathy Morse before her, were the two best female golfers we had in my time in Rochester. The sixth annual Danielle Downey Golf Classic was held at Brook-Lea Country Club this week. The 12th stop on the Symetra Tour. The LPGA’s developmental circuit. Brook Lea was Downey’s home course. The tournament annually provides a 2500-dollar college scholarship to an aspiring local female golfer.
It is a fitting way to remember her. Because that’s what we do best.