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Whaley Earns First-Ever Female PGA Tour Exemption

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Suzy Whaley shot a one-under-par 71 on Tuesday to win a PGA Section Championship and become the first woman ever to qualify for a PGA Tour event. Babe Didricksen Zaharias played in the Los Angeles Open in 1938, but she did not qualify.
 
The 35-year-old Whaley, the pro at Blue Fox Run Golf Club, finished at 5-under-par with a 54-hole score of 68-72-71-211 at the Ellington Ridge Country Club to win the Connecticut Section title and earn an exemption to next year's Greater Hartford Open. Whaley played from tees that were approximately 6,300 yards, compared to the men's distance of approximately 6,900 yards.
 
Whaley also earned a berth on next year's Challenge Cup team, a 10-year exemption into the Connecticut Open, and a lifetime exemption into the Connecticut Section Tournament of Champions.
 
Whaley was also the first woman to qualify for the National Club Professional Championships in June.
 
Starting the day two strokes behind the leader, Bob Mucha, Whaley fell three strokes back when Mucha birdied the 10th hole. However, Mucha then made three bogeys and a double bogey over the final six holes, while Whaley made her move on No. 16 with a birdie on the long par-4 hole, sinking a 30-foot putt after hitting a 7-wood approach shot.
 
Whaley said that she has not yet decided whether or not she will play at the GHO. Her husband, Bill, is the general manager at the TPC at River Highlands, where the GHO is held each summer.