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Ex-LPGA player Downey killed in crash

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Former Auburn and LPGA player Danielle Downey has died in a single-car accident. She was 33.

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Downey lost control on Lee Road 57, the car overturned several times and she was ejected at about 10 p.m. Thursday, Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Friday. Harris said she was apparently heading home after spending time with friends and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Downey was in her second season as Auburn's director of golf operations. She filled in for coach Kim Evans during the 2012-13 season after Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

''I'm absolutely devastated,'' Evans said. ''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.''

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Downey was a three-time All-American who finished second in the 2002 NCAA tournament.

Downey had seven top-10 finishes and one tournament victory on the Futures Tour. She finished in the money 15 times on the LPGA Tour from 2006 through 2010, including a career-best fourth at the 2008 Bell Micro LPGA Classic.

Downey returned to school and graduated in May 2013 with a degree in health promotion.

''This is a tragic and devastating loss for Danielle's family, our student-athletes and staff and the entire Auburn family,'' Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said. ''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.''

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