Saturday’s opening round of the Janesville LPGA Seniors Pro-Am wasn’t about scoring for Pat Bradley and Jane Geddes.
Those two LPGA Legends spent plenty of time atop the leaderboard in their storied careers with 42 tournament titles between them, including eight Majors.
Instead, the 68-year-old Bradley and the 59-year-old Geddes simply soaked in the environment on a picturesque day at the Janesville Country Club.
“I can tell you this, as players, we’re thrilled to be here,” Bradley said. “The LPGA really rolled out the red carpet on this one, and we really appreciate that. To play on a new golf course is exciting, and to meet new friends, that’s what this great game is all about.
“Mother Nature really cooperated in giving us a Chamber of Commerce day. We like to showcase our game and the LPGA as players, but events like this are also a great way to help out and give back.”
Bradley, along with Donna Caponi and Sandra Haynie, was one of three LPGA and World Hall of Famers in the field of 30. She won 31 LPGA titles in her illustrious career, including six majors. Her last LPGA Tour win came in 1995 at the the HealthSouth Inaugural Championship. Her last victory at a Major came in a spectacular 1986 season, when she won the Women’s PGA Championship, the ANA Inspiration and the de Maurier Classic, coming up a Women’s US Open title short of capturing the elusive grand slam of golf. Geddes won the US Open title in 1986.
Bradley said events like the Janesville LPGA Seniors Pro-Am allow players to interact on a more personal basis that what takes place on the normal tour stop.
“If somebody is asking for a tip or wants a picture taken, I’m more than happy to help out accommodate them,” Bradley said. “But more than anything it’s about enjoying the day and making new friends.
“And playing this beautiful golf course is something else. It’s like a carpet out there. It may be the smallest greens I’ve ever come across in my professional or amateur career, but they roll very nicely and are in great shape.”
Geddes shot 76 in her opening round to trail leader Lisa DePaulo (69) by seven shots but wasn’t concerned about her score. Her focus was on the event itself and enjoying interacting with the local golf enthusiasts.
“When you’re in Wisconsin or Minnesota this time of the year, it’s such a golf-friendly atmosphere,” Geddes said. “For us to come to a smaller town where a lot of us are names that people recognize makes it fun for us.
“And for me, it’s a chance to go out and play the game I love with friends that I grew up with. We went to school together, we were on the tour together, and so this is a great way to stay in touch and see everybody.”
Ackerman’s ace highlights Day 1
Rob Ackerman didn’t have to go far to celebrate Saturday.
The longtime Janesville Country Club member had a hole-in-one on the par 3 16th Saturday. Ackerman’s house is located adjacent to No. 17 fairway.
Playing in the Briggs Realty amateur group along with LPGA pro Caponi, Ackerman used a 7-iron to notch his fifth career ace, all coming at the Country Club.
“I think it took one hop and bounced in,” Ackerman said. “We really couldn’t see if it went in or not, but we knew it was going to be really close.”
Ackerman’s amateur threesome that also included Jake Downing and Wade Hanson, shot an opening-round 58 and has a one-shot lead.
In the Seniors event, DePaulo has a one-shot lead over Val Skinner.
Janesville LPGA Senior Pro-Am
At Janesville Country Club (Par 72)
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
69—Lisa DePaulo; 70—Val Skinner; 71—Michele Redman, Christa Johnson; 73—Silvia Cavalleri; 74—Pat Hurst, Becky Iverson; 75—Barbara Moxness, Danielle Ammaccapane, Rosie Jones, Leta Lindley, Kris Tschetter, Cindy Figg-Currier; 76—Nicole Jeray, Jane Geddes, Nancy Scranton; 77—Moira Dunn-Bohls; Lisa Grimes, Jean Bartholomew; Wendy Doolan; 78—Carolyn Hill, Barb Mucha; 79—Jane Crafter, Cathy Johnston-Forbes, Michelle McGann; 81—Martha Nause, Maggie Will