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Golfers take to the air

June 28, 2012
By Dennis Grall - Sports Editor ( , Daily Press

HARRIS - Natalie Sheary and Gloriana Soto had an opportunity to get a very unique view of Sweetgrass Golf Club this week.

They flew over the course in a power parachute, getting a bird's eye view for an excellent scouting report of a course that is hosting the Symetra Tour Road to the LPGA tournament. The three-day Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass starts Friday at 7:30, with the international field of 144 players starting from the first and 10th tees.

"It began a little scary," said Soto, a native of San Jose, Costa Rica. "I don't think that that thing can actually fly."

Article Photos

Dennis Grall | Daily Press
Natalie Sheary, front, and Gloriana Soto sit in a power parachute in the Island Resort and Casino parking lot before Wednesday’s pro-am at the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass. The Symetra Tour golfers received a ride over Sweetgrass Golf Club earlier this week.

By the time her brief flight ended, Soto said "I felt safer than in an actual airplane for some reason."

Bob Moraski of Schaffer was the pilot, and Soto said "he has a lot of experience. He is a great pilot. I was not too worried."

Sheary, from West Harford, Ct., topped Soto's flight, with Moraski landing the craft in the parking lot of the Island Resort and Casino. He then taxied the craft to the nearby gas station, astonishing several customers.

"It was a great experience," said Sheary. "I didn't know what to expect. Flying over the course was nice, the workers and players were waving to us. You could see farms, Lake Michigan, the island green.

"It was really, really a cool thing. I knew I could not pass it up."

After seeing the No. 15 island green from several hundred feet above, Sheary said "that green is so big. I'm definitely not going to miss that green."

They flew at about 30 mph and both golfers were busy taking pictures and enjoying the view. "This golf course is beautiful," said Soto, indicating that view was the same from above the course as it is playing the course.

Soto, the first female professional golfer from Costa Rica to compete in the United States, can also be seen on The Golf Channel's Big Break Atlantis that is airing this month.

"I just had fun. I can't say any more," she said of the show that features a variety of challenges. "I would love to do it again. It was the best experience of my life."

Soto did say she broke the glass target, which has already been shown. "The hardest part is making long putts under pressure or performing," she said. "It doesn't compare (to tourney golf). Pressure on Big Break is greater than any tourney.

Sheary tees off at 7:41 Friday from the first tee while Soto starts at 1:26 from the 10th tee.

Carley Saint-Onge of Marquette, one of two amateurs in the field, is in the first group off No. 10 at 7:30 Friday.



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