Michelle Wie, left, and Chella Choi walk across the birdge on #8 at Lancaster Country Club on Round 4 of the U.S. Women's open Sunday. (Photo/Patrick Blain)

Golfers’ final assessment of LCC and the fans is glowing

Posted: July 14, 2015 1:06 am


Amy Yang called it a “good week, great week.”

Stacy Lewis, who tied for third — two shots behind runner-up Yang in the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club — went a step further.

“It was,” she said, “an unbelievable week. … Just the energy in the crowd right off the first tee. The first tee was packed. It gave me some energy. I think I hit my longest drive of the day off the first tee, which I never do.

“The energy of the crowd, just walking up 18, seeing the number of people around that hole was unbelievable.”

A record crowd — 134,016, surpassing the 131,298 at Cherry Hills in Colorado in 2005 — energized the players and even helped crowd favorite Michelle Wie fight though the pain of an injured left ankle, knee and hip.

“Oh yeah, the crowds have been amazing,” said Wie. “It’s been such an amazing crowd to play in front of … Like I said earlier, that’s what pushed me through the round (Sunday).”

Inbee Park, who tied for third, was among those who strode off the 18th green Sunday and wasted no time praising the fans who poured into LCC.

“Since the practice round we had so many people coming out and watching us,” said Park. “It’s just so exciting to see that many people come out and watch us all the time. Over the weekend it was just amazing. There were roars everywhere on so many holes. And the last hole was just great. You really want to hit a great shot into the last green because there were so many people rooting for you.”

Morgan Pressel is a veteran of tournament play, having joined the LPGA Tour in 2006. Yet what she and her fellow golfers experienced this past week in Lancaster was something new, something special.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, even in other U.S. Opens that we’ve played,” said Pressel. “We’ve certainly always had great crowds, but nothing like here.”

Other tour veterans were just as awed by the atmosphere.

Pernilla Lindberg was paired with Wie and the two were saying that if they took all the LPGA events they’ve played so far this year, it probably adds up to the same crowds they were having this past week at LCC.

“It was incredible,” said Brooke Henderson. “It was a lot of fun to be able to play in front of them. Some of the cheers you could hear from holes over were crazy.”

And not just during tournament play, as Lydia Ko and Alison Lee noted. Ko spoke of the big crowds “even on the practice days” and Lee recalled being on the course at 7 a.m. and seeing “tons of people out there in the gallery.”

It wasn’t just the enormous crowds that impressed the pros. Karrie Webb, a pro since 1994, has played on courses around the globe. Lancaster Country Club, she said, is visually stunning.

“Just about every tee shot is right out there in front of you,” said Webb. “It’s an old, traditional-style golf course and that’s what I love to see. We need to play on more courses like this one.”

One look was all it took for Brittany Lang to fall in love with LCC.

“I thought it was great,” she said. “I showed up Monday to see the course. I loved it. Monday I played 18 and I’m like, ‘This is a great golf course.’ ”

The golfers not only soaked up the atmosphere of the crowd and the course, but also of their surroundings.

Lee said she did “the whole Amish town stuff” and Jane Park saw horses and buggies and sampled homemade ice cream. Elizabeth Nagel thought Lancaster a “little quirky and really fun.”

Said Lewis, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re back in this area soon.”