It was just another day for Daniela Iacobelli at the start of Sunday’s final-round but it proved to be special as she fired a 4-under par 68 to win the Daytona Beach Invitational Presented by Embry-Riddle.
“I looked at my him (her caddy) when we were walking down number one and I was like it’s just another day back at home except you’re carrying the bag,” said Iacobelli.
Iacobelli entered Sunday’s final round tied atop the leaderboard with Nicole Smith and Courtney Massey at 7-under par. Iacobelli didn’t waste any time as she quickly moved to 1-under par for the day after a birdie at the par-4 first. She then immediately gave the stroke back after a bogey at the par-4 second.
Despite Esther Choe nipping on her heels, Iacobelli stayed focused and utilized her distance to birdie the par-5 fifth.
From that point on, Iacobelli was in total control of her own destiny. The Viera, Fla. native recorded back-to-back birdies on the par-4 12th and par-5 13th to take a one-stroke lead after Choe bogeyed the par-3 14th.
Stephanie Connelly, determined not to go out without a fight, birdied the par-4 16th to move to 3-under par for the day and join Choe one-stroke behind Iacobelli. Meanwhile behind Connelly, Iacobelli was in the dark about where she stood on the leadboard.
“We made the turn 1-under and we didn’t see a scoreboard until 15, 16, 14, somewhere in there and I never looked at it,” said Iacobelli. “I told him (her caddy) coming up 16 you can look at, I was like I’m not looking at it.”
Filled with nerves, Iacobelli didn’t record another birdie until the par-5 18th where she reached the green in two using a 6-iron from 158 yards.
“I have never shook over anything like that and it was uncontrollable shake,” Iacobelli said of her tap-in birdie putt on the 18th. “I was just trying to go straight back and straight through.”