PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Bag pipers filled the air with a mournful tune after the final putt dropped.
Inbee Park, as the final Wegmans LPGA Championship winner, high-fived all the past chairmen of Rochester’s LPGA events through the past 38 years.
The championship opened the Monroe Golf Club gates at 4 p.m. to let fans in for free, and they came out in droves to say goodbye to the LPGA. Tournament officials estimate 25,000 people came to watch the final round with more than 100,000 people attending for the week. This community ended Sunday by sending out the LPGA with a literal bang, a rousing fireworks show after the trophy presentation.
“So many people have so many great memories here,” Park said. “I have great memories. Being able to be a part of the history was such a special feeling.”
Rochester became host of an LPGA event in 1977. Pat Bradley won the first tournament here at Locust Hill, which was home to the LPGA until last year. This event was elevated to a major in 2010, but it won’t be back. The LPGA Championship is being transformed as the new KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next year. It will be played at Westchester Country Club in New York and then begin rotating to sites, much the way the PGA Championship does.
Players are optimistic, however, that they’ll be back to the Rochester area for a regular tour event someday.
“Everybody's been so supportive for so long, and everybody is sad that we're leaving, but I think we'll be back here in a few years,” Rolex world No. 1 Stacy Lewis said. “These crowds today just show that we should be playing here, and I think we'll be back.”