Inclusion, diversity efforts at forefront of Maria Fassi’s LPGA career

A third-place finish at the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan Saturday earned young star Maria Fassi and her veteran playing partner Stacy Lewis a  $187,385 paycheck to split in the 72-hole team stroke play event.

Since undergoing knee surgery in 2021, Fassi has been struggling to consistently return to her winning form. In preparation for Dow, Fassi utilized an off-week on the LPGA Tour to enter the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship at Pinehaven in Guilderland.

Fassi turned pro in 2019 and has earned $606,049 on the LPGA tour. The highly decorated NCAA star from Mexico played her collegiate golf at Arkansas, winning 11 individual titles, including the 2019 SEC Championship and the 2019 NCAA Championship. Fassi also became the first person to win the Annika award in back-to-back seasons. The Annika Award is given to the most outstanding female collegiate golfer of the year voted on by peers, coaches and members of golf media.

She earned national attention when she placed second at the inaugural Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019 at Augusta. 

“I really trust my preparation,” Fassi told me after her final round at Pinehaven.


She obviously made the right call coming to Albany. 

She finished the Epson event tied for 28th, overcoming a tough first day with two solid rounds to finish 76-69-71 (216). 

“I think the more I can just keep giving myself opportunities and testing myself and seeing where my game is, I’m going to continue learning,” she said. “There’s always always something to work on. That’s the beauty of this game.”

Fassi came to the Epson Tour at Pinehaven after hearing about the event from her friends both on the Epson and LPGA tours.

“It was pretty much of a no-brainer for me. I had heard that the course was amazing. Other players on the tour who have played here and some of my friends here on the Epson Tour said in previous years that they really enjoyed the course and it was going to be a good test of golf and it truly was. I really had a good time this week,” she said.

She was excited to play in the Dow partners event with fellow Arkansas Razorback Stacy Lewis, who has been one of her mentors on tour. As mentors go, you can’t get much better than Lewis, who was named the 2023 U.S. Solheim Cup captain. The duo’s final round of 20-under, after an 11-birdie 59 Saturday, launched the duo into solo third place. They added their names to the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational record books with the fifth sub-60 round in tournament history. 

It was a busy week for Fassi, who is sponsored by Dow. As a Dow golf ambassador, she heads up the company’s inclusion and diversity programs. On Tuesday she was part of a free clinic that gave 120 children an introduction to the game of golf. 

“We work to make sure that people have the equal opportunity to be out here and compete,” she said. 

Her eponymous foundation at fassisfriends.com, also reflects those values. She hosted the winner of the foundation’s Fassi’s Friends essay contest — a young girl named Mia — during a week-long all-expense-paid trip to the Dow event with her dad.

“I’ve always felt the need not only in golf, but in life, to be a good person, be a good human and leave a place better than you found it,” she said. “Golf is giving me a platform to be able to do that and help people. I started my foundation last year and we help kids with special needs and underprivileged kids have an opportunity to come out and play golf and learn how to love the game that I’ve loved my whole life.”

“So I think it’s kind of always been in me and again, I think I’m very lucky with my sponsors and the people around me because they all have similar values to me and I just use that to keep leaving a mark and building a legacy for the future,” she said.

Another way she leaves a mark is in collaboration with clothing designer Tzu Tzu Sport.

Her colorful outfits make her easy to spot on the golf course. 

“It’s an American female-owned company and everything is made here in the U.S.,” she said. “So it’s very special and I like to look a little bit different than everybody else on the course and they keep me looking good, they keep me sharp,” she said. 

Stay sharp, Maria Fassi, in all you do. 

  • USWNT: The U.S. and Canada will play each other in Monday’s final of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. At stake is an automatic berth to the 2024 Olympics. The most recent meeting between the USA and Canada came in the semifinals of the delayed 2020 Olympics, a 1-0 victory for the Canadians on Aug. 2 in Kashima, Japan.

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