Amateur golfers play alongside pros before Guardian Championship

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 8:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - It was another busy day at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville. Some of the world’s best professional female golfers are in town to compete in this weekend’s Guardian Championship.

The 2022′s championship features 120 golfers from nearly 30 countries on the LPGA’s Epson Tour. The Epson Tour is considered the “official development tour” of the LPGA. The LPGA Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour.

The tournament gets into full swing on Friday, but before then several events are giving those in the community a chance to play alongside the pros.

Dozens of students from Autauga Academy, a coed pre-K-12 school in Prattville, came out to the senator course for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from some of the best female golfers in the world.

“I think it’s really, really, really exciting because I don’t always get this opportunity,” said Autauga Academy sixth grader Harper Turner.

“This is actually my first time ever being at a golf course,” said fifth grader Bentley Lightsey.

Competitor Fernanda Liar from Mexico City, Mexico, said teaching junior golfers reminds her why she first fell in love with the sport.

“It kind of reminds you that it started off as a game and I think that’s kind of like a fresh perspective from the week to week that we compete on,” Lira said. “I think it’s nice that they realize that it’s really just a game and you play it for fun.”

But the junior golfers weren’t the only ones who got some practice in. Adult amateur golfers also got a chance to compete against the pros in a tournament.

The Guardian pro-am tournament partnered three amateur golfers with a professional who then teamed up for a friendly round against other teams.

“It’s a nice way for them to get up and close, build some relationships and watch these girls play at a close level and appreciate their game,” said Mike Beverly, CEO of Sunbelt Golf Corp.

“You’re kind of loose, having a good time because it’s just a practice round that a lot of fun,” said local golfer Rick Roney.

The friendly round was also serious practice for competitors like University of Alabama graduate Kenzie Wright, who is looking ahead to tee off on Friday.

“You’re trying to learn the course but also make sure you have fun, and you’re also trying to do good for your group,” Wright said. “I’ve changed back to my Alabama bag this week just to show a little bit of Tide pride, but it’s been super fun. This state’s been so welcoming to me, so I’m excited to be back.”

Those who would like to see the tournament in person this weekend can attend. Admission is free. Gates open at 6:30 a.m. each day.

The women will take on the 54-hole tournament for a chance to win a piece of the $200,000 purse. The winner will get $30,000.

Sign up for the WSFA Newsletter and get the latest local news and breaking alerts in your email!