04 February 16  |  Events   |  

First Round of Coates Golf Championship’s LPGA Gets Underway

Temperature: low to mid 80s. Skies: Partly cloudy, some bright blue peering cheerfully upon Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club’s 18-hole world-class course as the world’s top women golfers begin to play the LPGA’s first round.

The southern wind – sailing at 16 mph – gently whips the horizon’s gentle hues of darks and greens. One small, angry cluster of clouds looms momentarily early in the afternoon, only to pass quickly as so many of Florida’s capacious storms do.

Professional golf was put on grand display today as the start of 2016 Coates Golf Championship on the LPGA Tour got underway. The tour concludes Saturday.

The Coates Golf Championship held its inaugural tour last year with Na Yeon Choi taking the top prize.

This year’s championship is offering a purse of $1.5 million, the same as last year’s. The winner gets $225,000, typically about 15 percent of the total.

Second place gets $139,000. Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda and Ha Na Jang tied for second last year with each getting $104,587; they divided the$313,761 prize.

This year’s third-place winner will get $101,000. Fourth place: $78,000. Each place from there: $62,000, $50,710, $42,446.

The tournament continues Thursday with the Coates Golf Experience 12 – 2 p.m. on Golden Ocala’s driving range. The Craft Beer Garden is 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Golf Channel is expected to cover the championship 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The third round goes all Friday with the final round on Saturday. The LPGA Junior Clinic is 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. The awards ceremony is set to follow the tournament on the 18th green.

Lydia Ko, who became the youngest Rolex Rankings No. 1 in the history of the LPGA Tour, made her 2016 debut at the Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers. “It’s pretty cool to be back,” Ko said.

Tickets are still available: Single-day grounds tickets are $15. Single-day Craft Beer Garden is $25. A Weekly Craft Beer Garden ticket is $65. Ticket packages for the championship are available online.

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