Duramed Futures Tour is good fun and great golf
Never, that is, before attending the Michelob Ultra Duramed Futures Players Championship at Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur, Illinois.
This tournament is one of the Futures Tour majors, and the purse of $105,000 (winner’s share $14,700) is the largest all year, yet it was modest in comparison to even the Nationwide Tour. Nonetheless, there were 144 golfers from 26 countries competing in the event, and the pressure under which they were competing was far more intense than anything most of us have experienced.
The Futures Tour is, as they say, the Road to the LPGA, boasting past winners (and current LPGA champions) Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, and Jimin Kang.
Best of all, though, the atmosphere for the spectators was more like golf tournaments should be, and once were: Free admission, $2 parking, lots of opportunities for kids to get up close and personal to the players to study (and hopefully remember and emulate) the lovely golf swings.
One of the groups I followed included Heidi Helliesen, one of the international golfers in the field. Helliesen is from Norway, where my grandparents came from, and I’ve always been curious why there are so many accomplished Swedish golfers but so few from my favorite Scandinavian country.
The answer to that question still eludes me, but I do know that it cannot be because the Norwegians are any less fun to watch. Helliesen is a beautiful young woman who, if she ever graduates to the LPGA, will no doubt gain quite a loyal following (and many endorsement deals). Sadly, Helleisen missed the cut this time.
But happily, Emily Bastel prevailed. Bastel, who spent 2005-2006 on the LPGA Tour, is a graduate of Michigan State University – one of my alma maters – where she dominated Big Ten Women’s Golf for several years. This was her second win of the 2007 season.
Bottom line is that the Duramed Futures Tour is great golf and good family fun – every bit as fun as those other tours.
You might even be able to say, “I saw her play back when….”
Heidi Helliesen would like to put Norway on the LPGA map.
Former Michigan State Spartan Emily Bastel pocketed the biggest winner’s check on the 2007 Duramed Futures Tour.
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