Former LPGA Tour player Danielle Downey was killed in a single car accident Thursday night in Auburn, Ala. She was 33.
Downey played on the Tour from 2006-10. She finished in the top 10 in seven tournaments. Her career-best finished was fourth at the 2008 Bell Micro LPGA Classic.
After caddying on the Tour for Sarah Kemp and Laura Diaz, Downey returned to her alma mater at Auburn University for the 2012-13 season when head coach Kim Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Downey coached the Tigers to a sixth-place finish in the NCAA Championship, their best finish in eight years.
Evans returned as coach and Downey has been the program's director of operations.
"I'm absolutely devastated," Evans said on the school's website. "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."
The accident occurred about 10 p.m. when Downey lost control of her vehicle, overturned several times and was ejected from her 2011 Hyundai Sonata while traveling north on Lee Road 57. She was rushed to the emergency room at East Alabama Medical Center and died at 10:58 p.m. from a massive head injury and multiple blunt force impact injuries, according to Lee County Coroner Bill Harris.
Alabama State Troopers and the Lee County Coroner's Office are investigating the accident.
Downey played at Auburn from 1999-2003, earning All-America honors in 2000, 2002 and 2003 and three All-SEC first-team selections, including winning the 2000 championship.
Downey, a native of Rochester, N.Y., was in her second season as Auburn's director of operations for the golf program.
"This is a tragic and devastating loss for Danielle's family, our student-athletes and staff and the entire Auburn family," athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement. "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 her and loved her. She will be dearly missed."