Anyone who enjoys the game of golf understands how entertaining it is to watch the professionals, especially if you are up close and personal.
That happened last weekend here at Lake Wales, Fla., where the women’s Symetra Tour was held at the Lake Wales Country Club.
This was the sixth annual Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
Lake Wales is the home of Florida’s Natural and there is a huge plant that is owned by the employees and produces the famous juice that is on grocery shelves everywhere.
I wasn’t planning on going to the tournament, but we play the country club course on Thursdays and I was interested in seeing how far these talented young ladies could hit the ball.
Now remember, they are only a step away from the LPGA tour so they are very talented or wouldn’t be there.
Former Saltsburg resident Jerry Clawson and Dwight “Arch” Brocious, of Dixonville, worked the three days of the event as statisticians keeping track of number of fairways, sandtraps and roughs that the young ladies hit.
So, on Sunday I decided to spend an hour or so watching the event.
It was amazing to me that although they were playing from the back tees, the girls had no trouble reaching the long par-5’s in two shots, where it usually took me four from the front tees.
As it turned out, I got caught up in the action and never left until the event was over four hours later.
Oh, and the winner of the event was Yueer Cindy Feng, an 18-year-old from China who is living in Orlando, Fla.
She doesn’t weigh 110 pounds soaking wet and on the par-5, 537-yard tenth hole, hit a driver and then a three wood to within 18 inches of the flag.
She made the eagle putt and that was the hold that led to her first place finish and the $18,750 first prize, but more importantly, a first-place finish that could catapult her to the regular LPGA Tour next year.
They sure know how to hit a golf ball.
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Last week I spent Thursday and Friday in Sarasota visiting former Indiana residents Ron and Jean Zucchelli and their family.
Ron and Jean were both teachers and they started the Nationwide Cheerleader camps that proved to be a tremendous success.
Jean, a Saltsburg native, is a real estate agent and Ron, originally from Rural Valley, has retired from his financial planning business, which is now run by his son-in-law David Harper.
On Friday Ron and I had a rematch with Frank Cignetti and Ron Thomas, former Indiana University of Pennsylvania staffers, who whipped us good.
It was a good time as we play with a group of former coaches from the western Pennsylvania area.
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Then Saturday and Sunday, two old friends from Beaver County, Sam Bechtel and Bill Swauger, journeyed from Cape Coral to Lake Wales and spent the weekend with us.
Bechtel is a former Gazette sports editor who also worked with the Beaver County Times and the Pittsburgh Press before returning to Indiana as executive editor.
Swauger is a retired public relations director at IUP.
Bechtel and his wife, Chris, are now permanent residents of Cape Coral.