'I had to go to bed sometime,' the 13-year-old golf prodigy said Saturday morning.
She and her family head home Sunday, a 90-minute drive from the spotlight back to something approaching normalcy. After two days of intense attention at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open, Dakoda and her terminally ill mom are looking forward to resuming some semblance of a regular life.
Kelly Jo Dowd has bone and liver cancer that doctors say may kill her within months. She was stricken with breast cancer four years ago, learned of more cancer last year, and resumed chemotherapy largely because she wanted to see her girl play one LPGA event. Ginn officials, upon hearing that wish, extended an invitation.
'I'm a little sad, because this is the end of one dream,' said Kelly Jo, whose next chemo appointment is Thursday. 'And then I get happy because I know there's going to be another dream to look forward to. Mother's Day is coming, you know.'
A reprise of the scene at the Ginn this week isn't in the family's plans, however.
Dakoda plans to withdraw Monday from a qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open, and the family has no interest in accepting any more invitations to play in LPGA events for at least three years. Instead, they'll continue entering Dakoda in top junior tournaments and select U.S. Golf Association championships.
'I guess I'm a little relieved,' Dakoda said. 'The past six months have been all about get-ready-for-the-LPGA-event. Don't go roller skating, don't do this, don't do that, don't try to break anything. It's nice to have a little bit of a break now.'
Dakoda and her parents are staying through the weekend, her father saying they wanted to 'pay our respects to all these great ladies out here.'
Dakoda's next scheduled event is the Future Collegians World Tour national championship in late May at Palm Beach Gardens. She'll play in about five or six events this summer, including an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur championship.
'We're not going to play her a lot,' said Mike Dowd, Dakoda's father. 'We're just going to keep doing what we're doing and keep going the way we're going.'
And if another LPGA event makes the same offer Ginn organizers did?
'The answer is 100 percent, absolutely, no,' Mike Dowd said. 'We're so respectful that the Ginn people and the LPGA Tour made this possible for our family. Dakoda feels the same way. This was a one-time gift, all because of mom. I want Dakoda to earn her way into the next one, and that's what she wants, too.'
Dakoda - one of the country's top-ranked junior players - shot a 2-over 74 Thursday and finished with a 10-over 82 Friday to miss the cut at the Ginn by eight shots. Several pro players made a point to seek Dakoda out at some point during the opening two days, to wish her well or offer an encouraging word.
'Everyone was so, so, so nice to us,' Dakoda said. 'So many people were all just supporting me and looking out for me. I appreciate it.'
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