Morales earns exemption for Symetra Tour’s IOA
Nicole Morales earned a sponsor exemption into the Symetra Tour’s fourth tournament of the season at the Insurance Office of America Golf Classic March 28-30 at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood, Fla.
“I am just so excited. This is a great opportunity for me,” Morales said. “It’s 10 minutes away from my apartment. I just can’t wait to go out at IOA and do what I love.”
This will be Morales' second career sponsor exemption. She played in the 2012 Credit Union Challenge in Albany, N.Y. She finished in a tie for 30th at the age of 15.
“That tournament was a such learning experience,” Morales said. “There were great players in the field including some Big Break players. It was just me trying to learn from them.
“Their advice was to stay in school and go to college. Don’t rush it, the LPGA and Symetra Tour will always be there. And that’s what I plan to do, spend four years at Alabama."
Morales, No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior rankings, moved from South Salem, N.Y., to the Lake Mary area for her senior year to work with golf coach Cheryl Anderson at the Mike Bender Golf Academy.
Recently, Morales has been working on being more consistent with her game.
“I am a good ballstriker, but I want to be more consistent and accurate,” Morales said. “The greens are very small at Alaqua, so I’ve also been working on attacking pins, along with my short game and putting. I was giving strokes back on that and now it’s a strength instead of weakness.
“I played great up there (in Albany) and I had a gameplan and that’s what I want to do here (at Alaqua),” said Morales, the 27th-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Over the last year, Morales won her second career AJGA event and first career AJGA invitational at the Thunderbird International Junior in May. She also added top 5s at the Dixie Amateur, AJGA Ping Invitational, Duke of York Champions Trophy and the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions.