MIDLAND, Mich. – A year after finishing fourth, the team of Cheyenne Knight and Elizabeth Szokol (aka the Elizabethan Knights) battled through a high-pressure system, which delayed final-round play for nearly two hours, and a high-pressure environment created by their fellow competitors, to win the 2023 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational at Midland Country Club in Midland, Mich. Szokol played at UVA from 2014-16 after transferring from Northwestern.

After breaking the tournament 54-hole scoring record with an impressive nine birdies on Friday, the two got off to what they considered a slow start on the final day. They carded only two birdies on the front and one more on No. 12 before the weather delay stopped any momentum the duo could build.

An hour and a half later, they added another birdie on 15 to take a one-stroke lead heading into the last few holes. On 17, Matilda Castren sank a 15-foot putt for birdie to even things out before Knight responded with a 7-footer of her own to retake the lead. With one last hole to play, the tension from the two remaining teams was high. It was Castren who hit it closets to the pin on the final par 3, and after Szokol, Knight and partner Kelly Tan made par, she had the last opportunity to force a playoff.


“I don’t think we could look at each other. I think we were just looking away. It was out of our hands, so we were just looking away and waiting,” said Szokol of that moment. “She hit a really good putt that just slid right by the edge. We did all we could, and we were just waiting to see, which was a bit stressful having it out of our hands.”

When the champions did look at each other, they felt “Relief,” Knight laughed. “But just, I don’t know, pure joy I would say. You’re expecting Matilda to make that putt, and when it slid by the edge, it was just, like, whoa, we did it. It was hard going to the rain delay, two-shot lead coming back, and it evaporated really quickly. It was just surreal. It was, like, wow, we did it. We’ve been out here all day, but we did it. So it was just, yeah, pure joy.”

With a final round 65 and 72-hole score of 257, Knight earns her second career victory after winning the 2019 Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, while Szokol becomes the Tour’s seventh Rolex first-time winner.

“It’s amazing to get my first win,” Szokol said. “It’s something I’ve been working for a long time, and it’s so tough to win out here. Everyone is such a great player.

“So to finally do that, and it’s even better with Cheyenne by my side. We’ve been talking about this event all year. And since our good finish last year, we couldn’t wait to get back, and to actually win is pretty amazing.”