Golfer Iacobelli Welcomes Challenge Of LPGA Tour

By  //  December 6, 2012

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2007 FIT Athlete Of The Year

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – For the LPGA, social characters may seem out of the ordinary – for Daniela Iacobelli, it is nothing but ordinary. 

By winning the Symetra Tour’s Daytona Beach Invitational in September, Daniela Iacobelli of Viera qualified to compete in 2013 on the LPGA Women’s Golf Tour. (Image courtesy of Scott A. Miller)

While receiving several surprising glances and chuckles as she was handed a cold beer during her Symetra Tour victory post round interview – her only thought was “It was well deserved. I have worked a long time toward this,” says Iacobelli.   “It’s been almost 5 years since I graduated from FIT…it was to do something….do or die.”

Daniela Iacobelli holds nearly every record in Florida Tech women’s golf history to include the 2007 FIT Athlete of the Year and Individual medalist of the 2007 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships.

She  took time off from her head golf professional position at Baytree National Golf Links, packed up her courage and determination and took a ride with her co-worker/caddie Tyler Del Buono to give the tour life another shot.

She shot a 4-under 68 to win the Symetra Tour’s Daytona Beach Invitational in September.  Daniela posted an 11-under 205 totals on LPGA International’s Champions Course, earning $18,750.00 to finish fifth on the money list and earn an LPGA Tour card for the 2013 season.

If I were to pair LPGA tour player Christina Kim, who is known for her animated style of play, flamboyant dress, and outgoing personality, in two-somes, Daniela would be my choice.

“It’s funny you find that similarity Mr. Walker,” Daniela said laughingly, “Christina ‘twittered’ me after my win, congratulating me.”

GolfWeek hypes her as a “throwback” and “life of the party.”

She commands the stage as LPGA communications representative, Kraig Kann, jokingly offered her a job at the award ceremonies…

Daniela Iacobelli in action during the final round of the Daytona Beach Invitational at LPGA International on Sept. 30 in Daytona Beach. (Image courtesy of Scott A. Miller)

SPACE COAST GOLF:  You graduated from FIT in 2007 and now you are a card carrying LPGA tour professional.  It has been almost 5 years.  Where was the turning point when you decided to leave your job and go after your dream?

DANIELA: “Florida Tech was huge for me in a sense that the accomplishments I had there set the stage for me now. I decided I just had to give the Symetra Tour life a chance.  Kind of a summer vacation you might say.”

SPACE COAST GOLF:  “Daniela, you say you did it the old-fashioned way.  What do you mean by that?”

DANIELA:  “I didn’t have any money and I didn’t have any sponsors this year.  I put $3000 together and I managed to pay my entry fees as I went.   I didn’t have money to pay a caddy.  My co-worker, Tyler Del Buono, was my trusty “looper” and I love him to death for it.  He has hung with me through all even knowing I could not pay him.

TYLER:  “Our relationship is unlike any other on tour.  Daniela is one of my best friends and I am not sure I could do the travel and all with anyone else.”

SPACE COAST GOLF:  So you are a tour player.  How’s your personal life since?

DANIELA:   “Nothing has really sunk in and it all seems unbelievable.  Everything will fit into place.”

TYLER:  Playing in Daytona, Daniela never wavered, no pressure.  She posted a 69 the first day, 2 shots off the lead.  That was all the motivation she needed.  On Sunday, a tap in birdie on 12 and fifteen footer on 13 and all I could think was just one more.  She hit 6-iron on 18 to inside 15 feet – best shot of her life under the circumstances.  When she stuck it she turned to me and asked, ‘did we just win or something?’   My quick response ‘NO,’ you have to put the ball in the hole.  She lipped out the eagle putt and tapped in for the bird.  It was clutch.”

SPACE COAST GOLF:  The next tournament on the LPGA Tour in America will be the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix which will likely be your first on tour, March 15, 2013. The tournament purse is $1.5 million.  How are you preparing for that?

DANIELA:  “I think there is going to be some nerves,” she said. “But I think I will be really excited to test myself and see where my game is at. I’ll be pretty star struck a couple of times I’m sure. But I’m really excited and I’m glad my caddie is going to be with me so we can experience those things together.”

TYLER:  “I cannot wait for spring to get here and see her face walking out onto the range for the first event.   Then her game has to do the talking. I can’t wait to see where the road takes us.”