As Danielle Ammaccapane was tearing up Highland Meadows Golf Club en route to a career-low round of 9-under-par 62 yesterday, her 21/2-year daughter Laura Ann was sound asleep at a nearby tournament day-care center.
And Ammaccapane's husband, Rod Kesling, was packing for the trip to the next tournament site near Youngstown.
Kesling had no idea how well his wife was playing in the final round of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic until he and his daughter showed up in the parking lot at the Meadows midway through the afternoon.
“A couple of the players said, `Did you see the scores?' I said, `No,'” Kesling said. “They said, `Danielle is 8-under, with two holes to play.'”
Kesling put Laura Ann in the stroller and they headed for No. 18. Shortly after Ammaccapane made her ninth birdie putt of the day, Laura Ann ran on to the green to congratulate her mother.
“I didn't expect her to come running out, but it was great,” Ammaccapane said. “She's just such a joy to be around at this age.”
Ammaccapane's bogey-free 62 was the low round of the Farr tournament and tied for the lowest fourth-round ever on the LPGA Tour.
Mi Hyun Kim shot a career-low 62 in the final round a year ago, and three-time champion Se Ri Pak carded the same score in the second round. Pak owns the Highland Meadows course record of 61, set during the second round in 1998.
“I knew Se Ri had gone pretty low, but I wasn't thinking about the course record,” Ammaccapane said.
The 37-year-old Ammaccapane, who began the day tied for 43rd place at even-par, finished in four-way tie for seventh with a 275 total and earned $23,875. Her previous best finish this year was a tie for ninth in early May at the Aerus Electrolux USA Championship near Nashville.
She had six birdies on the front nine en route to shooting a career-low 6-under 28. She tied the LPGA record for lowest nine-hole score, and matched the Jamie Farr mark, set by Renee Heiken in 1996.
“I didn't want to stop; I just wanted to keep going and keep making birdies,” she said.
Ammaccapane's birdie binge began at No. 1, where she made a 35-foot putt from off the fringe. She made a two-footer at No. 3 and a four-putter at No. 6. In between, she made a tricky 15-foot downhill putt at No. 4.
She added a 10-foot birdie at No. 7 and a 20-footer at 10.
“When I made the turn at 6-under, I was thinking about more birdies,” Ammaccapane said. “I knew there'd be quite a few chances on the back nine.”
She made her seventh birdie at No. 10. She hit a pitching wedge over the hole from 110 yards and tapped in from a foot away.
Ammaccapane, who has seven LPGA wins but none since 1998, made her eighth birdie at No. 12, draining an eight-foot putt.
She made pars at No. 13 and No. 14. At No. 15 and No. 16 - a pair of par-4 holes - she hit good approach shots to the greens on her second shots, but neither held the putting surface and she had to settle for pars.
At No. 17, a par-5 measuring 513 yards, Ammaccapane hit her third shot within eight-feet of the pin but she missed her birdie putt and ended up with a disappointing par.
“I got a little stagnant there in the middle of the back nine,” she said.
“I couldn't get anything going.”
At the par-5, 532-yard No. 18, Ammaccapane hit a wedge to within a foot for her final birdie. Her previous low score in an LPGA tournament was 64, and she had pulled that off twice before - both coming in final rounds.
After completing yesterday's round, Ammaccapane first was congratulated by playing partner Amy Read.
“Great round,” Read said. “That was awesome.”
Next to greet Ammaccapane was her daughter. Ammaccapane scooped up Laura Ann, planted a kiss on her cheek and headed for the scoring tent, where she was met by her husband.
“It's nice to see Danielle have a good round like that,” he said. “She's been saying for a while that she's been close to having a low round. And it finally came today.”