The LPGA Fans at Golden Ocala
The LPGA Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers at Golden Ocala was a must-do event for avid golfers in the region and those who wanted to experience the hype of a professional golf event first hand.
Whether standing in the galleries or walking the course, fans greeted each other to learn where the other was from and if this was their first time at an LPGA event. Many compared notes from other tournaments around the country. A few have plans to catch several other tournaments later in the season.
Fans could be spotted wearing “Go Mo” buttons for Mo Martin, t-shirts for Inbee Park, or gear from other golfing events.
When Stacy Lewis hit the course on Wednesday to tee off, fans were there to see the 2014 Rolex Player of the Year.
“I was in shock actually when I walked on that tee and saw how many people there were. It’s amazing. It shows that this is the kind of town that we should be playing in. We’re the biggest thing that’s coming right now and this is where we should be playing,” Lewis said.
Connie Wilson, of nearby Beverly Hills, tagged along with her daughter Angela Porter to see golfers tee-off from Hole 1 on Tuesday morning during the Pro-Am tournament. The mother daughter duo managed to score an autograph and photo with Brittany Lincicome as she headed to the green.
“They seem so down to earth,” Wilson said sporting the new autograph on the sleeve of her shirt.
Wilson, who’s been playing the sport for about 25 years, also enjoys watching the PGA and won lottery tickets to attend the Master’s Tournament in Augusta, Ga.
Porter, who co-owns a golf shop with her husband near Orlando, said Lincicome asked about the shirt she was wearing from Krank Golf. Porter, armed with her camera and pen for autographs planned to spend several days at the tournament.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to see them so close to home,” she said.
Fans attending the first round of play on Wednesday were able get autographs from players like Sadena Parks making her debut on the LPGA tour this season.
LPGA 2014 rookie Cheyenne Woods, niece of golf great Tiger Woods, was also a fan favorite on the course this week. However, the fans flocked to see Stacy Lewis, Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, and Ha-Na Jang who led the first two days of tournament play.
Golf fan Mary Kalkowski, a local nurse in Ocala, took a week of vacation in order to attend the tournament.
“I saw a few of the golfers yesterday and it was like being on the red carpet in Hollywood or something, I was speechless,” she said.
Kalkowski said she’s a fan of all the golfers and especially tries to cheer on those from her native Netherlands like Dewi Claire Schreefel.
By Friday, the fans continued to make their way to the course to attend the event, which so far has exceeded LPGA expectations for attendance.
Fans on Hole 6 on Thursday when Paula Creamer got a hole-in-one were pumped to witness the play. On Friday, when she played the same hole, an even larger gallery gathered to watch.
“Even in the Pro-Am that we played there was a lot of people out here. Today I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the afternoons would be nice, but this is awesome. This is what we want, and it just shows that tournaments here in Florida and especially here in Ocala, it’s nice to get a good crowd and they love golf,” Creamer said.
To see the overview of the entire Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers visit our blog.