Sun sets on round 1 of Guardian Championship in Prattville
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - The Guardian Championship teed off Friday morning, and tense competition is underway as some of the best female golfers in the world go head-to-head this weekend at Senator Course in Prattville.
The 54-hole tournament at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail runs through Sunday, Sept. 18.
There is a total of 120 professional female golfers from 30 countries playing in the tournament. This is one of 21 tournaments these women will play as part of the LPGA Epson Tour. Each athlete is hoping to secure their ticket to the LPGA at the end of the season.
For this tournament, the women are playing for a piece of a 200-thousand-dollar prize - first place will get $30,000.
The Guardian Championship is free and open to the public giving some fans a front-row seat to the action - but most of the spectators out Friday were family. Jacqie Vargas is the mother of an amateur golfer competing named Haley Vargas who is a senior at Kansas State University.
“This is her first event,” Vargas said. “She won a tournament in Philadelphia so this is just the beginning for her because she’s a senior in college so, she wants to go Pro. Unfortunately, she’s an amateur so she won’t be able to win anything, but you know what, it’s all fair game.”
Dozens of volunteers are helping make the tournament possible. One volunteer is helping to do more than just coordinate the event – he is also providing housing for some players who needed it.
“We have people staying with us in our house from Oregon and Florence, Italy and it’s just really an experience,” said volunteer David Frazier. “I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now and I’ve got to meet a lot of the ladies that have moved up to LPGA. It’s just a lot of fun talking to them and every one of these ladies are so friendly.”
Prattville officials also say the tournament has brought exposure and a big economic boost to the city.
“There is no question the positive impact it has on the community and the River Region,” said Landon Shelby, CFO of Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. “If you cruise around the city you can see it, it’s bustling, and it’s a positive thing. We are very proud of it.”
“It is definitely affecting lots of different businesses, hotels, eateries, gas, all of these things that people buy, and then it brings people in to stay, and it just causes people to see what a great place Prattville is and then they find other things in the River Region to do and we hope that it causes people to come back,” said Lora Lee Boone, President of Prattville City Council.
There are still two days of competition left if you would like to come out and watch. Admission is free. Gates open at 6:30 a.m. each day.
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