PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- PGA Professional Karen Paolozzi of Twinsburg, Ohio, already owns one PGA of America competitive record, and this winter begins a countdown to crossing another threshold in a glittering career.
The PGA assistant professional at Chagrin Valley Country Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Paolozzi is the third female professional to earn a berth in the PGA Professional National Championship, the showcase event for PGA Professionals.
Karen Paolozzi, PGA
Paolozzi ("Pa-loze-ee") assured herself a national spot when she finished tied for seventh in the Northern Ohio PGA Professional Championship, Aug. 28, posting a 54-hole total of even-par 216 on her home course. Paolozzi, 31, follows Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Conn. (2002, '05) and Patty Post of Lincoln University, Pa. (2007), as the only female professionals to secure a spot in the 312-member National Championship field.
"Playing in the National Championship was a goal of mine, but I didn't know when or where I would get the chance," said Paolozzi, who was elected to PGA membership in 2012. "When the Section Championship was announced for my home course, I figured this was my chance. I just never expected it would happen so quickly. I've never been to Myrtle Beach, but I'm excited to go."
Paolozzi set one PGA competitive standard in 2010 as an apprentice, finishing tied for 10th in the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship. It remains the highest finish by a female professional in any PGA of America-sanctioned national championship.
Formerly Karen Dennison, and a native of Louisville, Ky., Paolozzi is married to Vinnie Paolozzi, the PGA assistant professional at Barrington Golf Club in Aurora, Ohio, who has served as her caddie in the past and may do so again in June in the National Championship.
Paolozzi grew up in Madison, Ind., introduced to golf by her father and was playing consistently by age 12.
"My dad taught me the fundamentals and then passed me on to PGA Professional Ken Allender, now of River Chase Golf Course in Sellersburg, Ind., who became my first real coach," said Paolozzi. "Once I got to college, I met Sam Carmichael, who had a major influence on my game." Carmichael, a PGA Life Member, retired from Indiana University after having guided seven Big Ten Conference women's title teams in 19 seasons.
Carmichael's influence paid off as Paolozzi earned first-team All-America and Academic All-America honors at Indiana, including capturing four golf titles before graduating in 2004. She went on to earn a master's degree in sports management and athletic administration in 2005, and then competing for a season on the former Duramed Futures (now Symetra) Tour. Paolozzi began her PGA apprenticeship at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., and in 2010 won the Callaway Golf Middle Atlantic PGA Assistant Championship. She attained her current position at Chagrin Valley Country Club in 2011.
"We are proud to have Karen earn her way into the National Championship, and she is a very accomplished player and has an impressive controlled game," said Northern Ohio PGA Executive Director Dominic Antenucci. "She is the third female professional in our Section to win one of our Stroke Play events. She also has served on our Apprentice and Teaching Committees and last year she gave more than 300 lessons. Paolozzi also is the first female member of the Ohio Cup Team, which matches 14-member teams from the Northern and Southern Ohio PGA Sections.
The 47th PGA Professional National Championship is presented by Club Car, Mercedes-Benz and OMEGA. It will be the second National Championship to be contested in South Carolina, following the 2005 Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
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