Current Residence: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Hometown: Glendale, Ariz.
Home Golf Course: Talking Stick Golf Club, Wildfire Golf Course
College: Paradise Valley Community College; Arizona State University; Drake University
- Two-time winner of the AWGA State Amateur Match Play Championship
- Runner-up in the 2013 Arizona Women’s State Amateur Championship
- Currently plays on the Cactus Tour, with a best T-3 finish.
- Won three out of seven collegiate events entered as a freshman while at Paradise Valley Community College, earning player of the year honors for Arizona Community Colleges
- Also played collegiately at Arizona State University and Drake University
- Three-time region champion in high school
- Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in left knee as a baby
Kylee Duede is a fighter, and refuses to take no for an answer. Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in her left knee as a baby, Duede has faced an uphill battle her entire life when it comes to competitive sports.
Growing up, Kylee refused to let her RA slow her down. Softball was her sport of choice. While she loved the sport, she suffered through numerous injuries due to her RA, including a torn meniscus in 7th grade and tearing her ACL her sophomore year of high school – which she never repaired.
“I was so stubborn about my injuries when I was younger,” recalled Kylee. “I didn’t want people giving me special treatment because of my RA, so I played through all of my injuries.”
She also began to burn out on competitive softball in high school, and was introduced to golf at age 16. She was immediately hooked, and within six months of taking up the game, she was shooting in the low 80s.
“Physically, golf was so much easier on my knee than softball, and I loved the challenge of trying to get better every day,” said Kylee.
She graduated high school a semester early and enrolled at Paradise Valley Community College on a full golf scholarship, winning three of her first seven collegiate events entered. Her sophomore year, she transferred to Arizona State University with the hopes of continuing her success she had at Paradise Valley. Her RA was in remission, and she was growing more and more confident about her future in golf.
All of that came to a screeching halt in 2011 when constant pain in her knee returned. It affected her play on the course and her confidence off the course. Still, refusing to give in, she addressed treatment with her doctors so she could continue playing the sport that she loves.
“I have lived with this disease my entire life. It is a part of who I am,” said Kylee. “However, you will never see me feeling sorry for myself. I am going to chase after my dream of playing on the LPGA Tour for as long as I can.”
For the past two years, she has worked diligently and furiously with her doctors on treating her knee and her RA. Every option has been explored. However, she has been told by her doctors that by age 25, she will need a full knee replacement. When she agrees to the procedure, she knows her professional golf career could potentially come to a close.
Kylee is a huge fan of Big Break. She imagined being a part of the show, but had reservations about applying. Her swing coach, Jack Lobiondo, encouraged her to apply in early 2013. She watched her former roommate and close friend, McKenzie Jackson, compete on Big Break Mexico. Her current roommate, two-time Big Break competitor Meghan Hardin, also encouraged her to give Big Break a shot. About a week prior to the open auditions in Arizona, Kylee had a dream that she was a part of Big Break, so she went to the audition. She was cast for Big Break Florida one month later.
“If there ever was a right time to audition for Big Break, it was now,” said Kylee. “I felt like it was meant to be for me to be on this show. I love golf, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I am going to see how far this journey will take me, and I’ll keep giving everything I’ve got in achieving my dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.”
Kylee turned professional in order to compete on Big Break Florida. With a refusing-to-give-up mentality, she just could be the one to beat on the series.