Course shows little effect after showers

Grounds are saturated but playable

Stacy Lewis works on her putting at Highland Meadows practice green on Monday. Lewis is a part of the Image Group pro-celebrity challenge today.
Stacy Lewis works on her putting at Highland Meadows practice green on Monday. Lewis is a part of the Image Group pro-celebrity challenge today.

Like much of the Toledo area, which dealt with three weeks of rather consistent rainfall measuring around 10 inches in total, the grounds at Highland Meadows Golf Club were saturated.

Ten Mile Creek, which meanders through the course, has been a problem during past LPGA tournaments at the Meadows, most notably in 2006 and ’08, never rose above its banks, according to course superintendent Dan Salois.

“It wasn’t like the huge dumps we’ve had at times in the past, it was more a steady assault, bit by bit, day by day,” said Salois, who has been on staff for seven previous pro tournaments and is in his sixth season as superintendent. “The creek came close to the top, maybe dribbled out briefly in spots, but there was no flooding.

“The cumulative effect was just a saturation that made even routine work, like getting out and mowing the grass, quite a challenge.”

PHOTO GALLERY: LPGA golfers get in some practice at the Pro-Am

Salois said golfers and spectators might see a few areas where the grass was trapped underwater for extended periods.

“Overall, the course is very, very playable, but it’s a little rough around the edges because of all that rain,” he said. “We have a few weak or dead areas, just a few here and there, that’ll be marked as ground under repair. They’re in the low, poorest draining areas.

“But certainly nothing catastrophic happened.”

Could that change if it rains this week? With temperatures forecast in the high 80s and low 90s until the weekend, thunderstorms are always a risk.

“It depends on what kind of rain,” Salois said. “If we have one of those big two- or three-inch downpours that brings the creek out, well, we have people who have dealt with it in the past and know how to handle it.

“Otherwise, I think we’ll be fine.”

PROS AND CELEBS: The field has been set for this afternoon’s Image Group pro-celebrity challenge at Highland Meadows.

Defending champion So Yeon Ryu and Toledo-born Stacy Lewis, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, head up an impressive field of LPGA pros for the six-hole event. A couple former UT football stars and a group of Rockets coaches help make up the celebrity portion of the event.

The competition will be held on holes 10 through 14 and then finish on No. 18. It begins at 3 p.m.

The pairings: Stacy Lewis-UT men’s golf coach Jamie Broce; Brittany Lincicome-UT ex-quarterback Chuck Ealey; So Yeon Ryu-UT women’s basketball coach Tricia Cullop; Morgan Pressel-UT men’s basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk; Lexi Thompson-UT ex-quarterback Bruce Gradkowski; Christina Kim-Walleye player Tyler Pilmore.

With the exception of the pro-celeb challenge, most of the action today at Highland Meadows will be made up of LPGA practice rounds.

Today’s pro-am event, sponsored by Brooks Insurance and Health Care REIT, is held off-site at Inverness Club with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.

TWO QUALIFY: University of Toledo star Kate Hoops came within a playoff of becoming only the second Rocket golfer in history to qualify for the Marathon Classic.

Hoops, a rising senior, fired a 1-under 71 to finish in a three-way tie for the second available spot in a qualifying tournament Monday at Sylvania Country Club.

LPGA veteran Jean Bartholomew went birdie-birdie on the extra holes to win the playoff.

Erica Popson, a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee and a relatively new pro who is playing mostly on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA feeder circuit, won the qualifier with a round of 69.

Hoops was looking to match ex-Rocket Tammy Clelland, who advanced out of the qualifier to play in the 2006 event, then called the Jamie Farr Classic.

PRO-AM: The Monday morning pro-am, sponsored by 13-ABC, was won by teams headed by pros Thidapa Suwannapura and Mariajo Uribe.

Suwannapura’s team won low gross with a score of 16-under-par 55. Her amateur partners included Andrew Mouser, Mike Nichter, Don Hayati, and Matt Vierk.

Uribe joined with amateurs Dave Holmes, John Hoover, John Guitteau, and Joe Mehling to win low net with a handicap adjusted score of 50.82.