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LPGA golfer, area native Downey dies in crash

Rochester Business Journal
January 31, 2014

Spencerport native Danielle Downey, an LPGA Tour member for five years and in her second season directing golf operations at Auburn University, died Thursday night in a car crash.

Downey, 33, lost control of her car around 10 p.m. and was ejected after it left the road and overturned several times, Auburn-area newspapers reported, citing a Lee County, Ala., coroner.

“This is a tragic and devastating loss for Danielle’s family, our student-athletes and staff and the entire Auburn family,” Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said in a statement released Friday by the school.

“Danielle cared deeply about people and she was loved by all who knew her. She impacted a lot of lives here as a player and a member of our staff. Our hearts go out to Danielle’s mother and father, her sisters and all who knew and loved her. She will be dearly missed.”

Downey had returned to the school to finish her degree. She graduated in May with a degree in health promotion, the school said.

Downey played golf there from 1999 to 2003, earning All-America honors in 2000, 2002 and 2003. She was the Southeastern Conference women’s tournament champion in 2000 and tied for second in the 2002 NCAA Championships.

“I’m absolutely devastated,” Auburn women’s golf coach Kim Evans said in the school statement. “Danielle meant so much to me, the girls and this program.

“Not only did she give much of her life to Auburn as a student-athlete and as a mentor to these young women, but she was so instrumental to this team during some tough times over the past year. Danielle was like a daughter to me.”

Downey stepped in for Evans during the 2012-13 season after Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer prior to post-season competition.

Downey played on the Futures Tour—a satellite tour for the LPGA—from 2004 to 2007. She played on the LPGA Tour from 2006 to 2010, her best finish a fourth place at the 2008 Bell Micro LPGA Classic.

“The LPGA Tour is deeply saddened about the passing of long-time member and friend Danielle Downey,” the organization said in a statement.

“Please keep Danielle’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”

Downey graduated in 1999 from Spencerport High School.

“Spencerport has lost not only an outstanding student athlete but also an amazing person,” Spencerport Central Schools athletic director John Pelin said in a statement. “Danielle has constantly given back to our school, athletic program and community through the years, and was always the first to give credit to others and not herself.”

Downey is survived by parents Mike and Phyllis Downey; sisters Erica Setzer, Melissa Sage and Shawna Tomasso; and three nieces and three nephews, Auburn officials said in the statement.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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