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Aug. 28, 2018
This paid piece is sponsored by GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.
Sioux Falls golfer and high school standout Kate Wynja will play alongside some of the top women in golf next week as part of the GreatLIFE Challenge.
Wynja, a Sioux Falls Christian High School graduate, made national headlines earlier this summer in the state high school golf tournament for reporting her own scorecard error. It disqualified her as she was poised to win.
“It’s crazy. It blew up. The support and response was overwhelming, in a good way,” she said. “A lot of people bring it up, but it’s good. Moms will tell me they use it as a lesson for their kids, things like that. That just makes me know what I did was right.”
When GreatLIFE reached out to offer Wynja a sponsor exemption to compete in the Symetra Tour stop, “I thought it was really cool,” she said.
She talked to her new coach at Northwestern College and received permission to compete. The tournament coincidentally is the same time as what would have been her first college meet.
“We decided this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “It’s so cool.”
Wynja will compete alongside golfers on the Road to the LPGA and said she’s excited to meet them.
“They inspire me,” she said. “Golf is their life, and I think that’s amazing. It’s so cool they can do that and work so hard. I’m just excited to see that actually in the tournament.”
GreatLIFE typically holds a qualifier for the spot but this year selected Wynja.
Wynja “is the type of girl and the type of golfer that we want to give an opportunity to,” said Jason Sudenga, director of golf at GreatLIFE. “She plays with integrity and now will play with some of the best golfers in the world.”
The second sponsor exemption added to the tour will be making her first trip to Sioux Falls.
Julia Engstrom is a 16-year-old Swedish golfer who is the world’s highest ranked golfer born in the 21st century. Engstrom competed in the British Open but missed the cut by two strokes.
She’s ranked rookie of the year on the Ladies European Tour and recently won the Ladies European Access Tour in Finland.
She began playing the sport at age 4 and turned pro this year after numerous wins.
“What makes me enjoy the sport is the constant learning process and that there is always something to develop,” she said. “And also everything I get to experience through golf.”
This will be her first professional play in the U.S., although she has traveled to the country as an amateur with the Swedish National Team, and she played the U.S. Open as an amateur two years ago.
“It will be my first time visiting South Dakota, and I am excited to learn all about your culture,” she said.
“I have been looking into playing in the U.S.A. as a professional to prepare for the LPGA next year. I’m so excited to play the GreatLIFE Challenge. I’ve heard so many good things about the tournament and South Dakota.”
You can watch Wynja, Engstrom and all the outstanding golfers headed to Sioux Falls at the GreatLIFE Symetra Challenge Thursday through Sunday at Willow Run Golf Course.
She gained national attention for her integrity at this year’s state golf championships. Now Kate Wynja will play alongside some of the best in her sport.