Fans Arrive as LPGA Players Practice at Golden Ocala
Golf fans began arriving early to start the week of the inaugural LPGA Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. The quest for many fans was to see a favorite player up close for a quick photo or autograph.
Fans spanned out around the course to take in practice rounds of golfers. They watched the pros closely, hoping to pick up a tip or two that they could put into practice themselves.
The driving range and putting green were both popular spots to see several players at once as the ladies circulated through the area. The player entrances to the driving range and putting green netted one fan over 50 autographs by late morning.
Late morning driving range practice included Morgan Pressel, Inbee Park, Lisa Ferrero, Brooke Pancake, Karrie Webb, and Suzann Pettersen to name a few.
By early afternoon, fans had gotten a chance to see some of the tour stars play a few holes around the course.
LPGA Press Conference
LPGA rookie Cheyenne Woods had a chance to play all 18 holes on Monday and describes the course as “beautiful.”
“I think it’s a fun layout,” Woods said of the course during the afternoon press conference. “It’s kind of cool out on the back nine they have the replica holes, but it’s a good course.”
She said the winds on Monday made play a little tough and said it will be interesting how the weather holds out the rest of the week.
Michelle Wie had also played nine holes on Monday and said “it’s a very good golf course. A lot of fun, there’s no two holes the same.”
Wie said the replica holes definitely make it fun out here, but that the course is in great condition and she’s excited for this week.
“It could be a little warmer, that would be great,” she said.
Inbee Park, who was reminded by her mother of winning a Florida Junior Tournament in Ocala at age 12, is set to play the area’s premiere course when the tournament tees off on Jan. 28, 2015.
“It’s a very tough golf course because it is very long, it’s playing very long and very grainy greens,” Inbee said.
Park said the Golden Ocala course is a lot grainer than other CME golf courses, “you’ve really got to hit the ball long…today was windy…it was tougher.”
Stacy Lewis, 2014 LPGA Rolex Player of the Year, said the only word she could come up with to describe the Golden Ocala course is, “tricky.”
“It’s obviously very long and very wet right now. Hopefully it dries out a little bit, but the way they’ve got it set up it’s going to play really long,” Lewis said.
Lewis adds, “I think good ball strikers will play well, but if they move some tees up and kind of play the course more the way it should be played I think you can shoot a score out there. The greens are relatively soft, so you can get some wedges in there pretty close.”
The ladies get down to business on Wednesday, Jan. 28 with a 7 a.m. start for the 2015 LPGA Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers at Golden Ocala. The event will be televised on the Golf Channel live from 2-5 p.m. on the first day.
Also follow Golden Ocala on social media to get updates of the action and other behind the scenes details during the tournament.