Former Madison Consolidated High School and Indiana University standout golfer Karen (Dennison) Paolozzi (pictured at a PGA Assistant Championship in 2010) has become just the third female professional golfer in history to earn a berth in the male-dominated PGA Professional National Championship. (Photos by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Former Madison Consolidated High School and Indiana University standout golfer Karen (Dennison) Paolozzi (pictured at a PGA Assistant Championship in 2010) has become just the third female professional golfer in history to earn a berth in the male-dominated PGA Professional National Championship. (Photos by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Former Madison golf standout Karen Paolozzi became the third female professional golfer to earn a berth in the PGA Professional National Championship.

Paolozzi, a 2000 Madison graduate and current resident of Twinsburg, Ohio, tied for seventh in the Northern Ohio PGA Professional Championship in August, posting a 54-hole total of even-par 216 on her home course. Paolozzi, 31, follows Suzy Whaley (2002, 2005) and Patty Post (2007) as the only female professionals to secure a spot in the 312-member National Championship field that normally is fielded by only men.

The PGA Professional National Championship will be held on June 22-25, 2014, at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club and Grand Dunes Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"Playing in the National Championship was a goal of mine, but I didn't know when or where I would get the chance," said Paolozzi, who was elected to PGA membership in 2012 and is currently the PGA assistant professional at Chagrin Valley Country Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. "When the Section Championship was announced for my home course, I figured this was my chance. I just never expected it would happen so quickly. I've never been to Myrtle Beach, but I'm excited to go."

Paolozzi set one PGA competitive standard in 2010 as an apprentice. She finished tied for 10th in the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship. It remains the highest finish by a female professional in any PGA-sanctioned national championship.

After her standout career at Madison which saw her finish runner-up in the state finals her senior year, Paolozzi, then known as Karen Dennison, became a first-team All-American and Academic All-America at Indiana University, including four golf titles before graduating in 2004.

After graduating with a master's degree in sports management and athletic administration in 2005, Paolozzi began her PGA apprenticeship at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. In 2010, she won the Callaway Golf Middle Atlantic PGA Assistant Championship.

"We are proud to have Karen earn her way into the National Championship, and she is a very accomplished player and has an impressive controlled game," said Northern Ohio PGA Executive Director Dominic Antenucci. She is the third female professional in our Section to win one of our Stroke Play events. She also has served in our Apprentice and Teaching Committees and last year she gave more than 300 lessons.

Paolozzi is also the first female member of the Ohio Cup Team, which matches 14-member teams from the Northern and Southern Ohio PGA Sections.

Paolozzi, the daughter of Granville and Barbara Dennison, is married to Vinnie Paolozzi, the PGA assistant professional at Barrington Golf Club in Aurora, Ohio, who has served as her caddie in the past and may do so again in June in the National Championship.