Playoff caps great week for Symetra Tour event
GOFFSTOWN — The hundreds of golf fans who came out for the final round of the New England Charity Classic at Stonebridge Country Club Sunday were treated to an exciting finish.
But it was as much a treat to the international card of competitors who enjoyed the challenge Stonebridge provided, and appreciated the fans who clapped for every birdie and shouted encouragement at every hole.
Sadena Parks of Scottsdale, Ariz., was the winner of this Symetra Tour event, making up 11 strokes in the final two rounds to force a playoff with Jackie Stoelting of Vero Beach, Fla. Tied at 8-under-par 208 after 36 holes, Parks and Stoelting played two more holes to decide a winner. Both golfers birdied the first hole but Stoelting rimmed out a five-foot putt for par while Parks made her par to win.
Area golf fans were the big winners as well.
The fact that many of the top women in the tournament, including Parks and Stoelting, appeared on the Golf Channel show “Big Break: Florida” on the Golf Channel was a big draw for local golf fans. (Stoelting emerged victorious in the latest series.) Hundreds of fans turned out for the three-day tournament to see the reality show golfers in person. And attendance was some of the best that’s been seen on the Symetra Tour this year.
“We’re very pleased with how this year’s event turned out and how the course was received by the players,” said Mike Nichols, chief business officer of the Symetra Tour.
This was the first time the Symetra Tour event was played at the Goffstown course. For years, it was held at Beaver Meadow, a public course in Concord.Owners and managers of Stonebridge felt that their course would make an excellent host for the event.“I was always interested in the event. I always thought our course would meet the LPGA’s criteria,” said Stonebridge manager Jason Jozokos. “I reached out to Mike Nichols from Symetra and put our hat into the ring.”Turns out Jozokos’ timing couldn’t have been better. “Rumor had it they were going to pull the event from New Hampshire,” said Jozokos. “The problem with New Hampshire is fewer sponsorship opportunities.”
Moving the tournament south from Concord opened up more sponsorship opportunities, even from across the state line. In fact two of the tournament’s major sponsors are Massachusetts-based.
Technology company PTC of Needham, Mass., became the presenting sponsor. But local sponsors like Northeast Delta Dental and Centrix Bank remained committed to the tournament as well.
Along with the staff at Stonebridge, hundreds of volunteers came out to pitch in, from being caddies and scorekeepers to opening their homes to golfers for the week leading up to the tournament.
Glenn and Robin Morrell hosted Parks at their home in Weare. They came out to see her hoist the trophy in victory, saying they felt like their own daughter had won.
Parks enjoyed her stay in the Granite State. “It’s really different, but I loved it,” said Parks. “It’s beautiful here and everyone is so nice.”
So what of next year? Will the Symetra Tour make another stop in Goffstown?
Nichols was non-committal on Sunday. “We’ll regroup following the event with Stonebridge and our sponsors to see if there is interest in continuing.”
But Jozokos is confident that events like these can be in the club’s future. “I don’t see why not,” said Jozokos.