HARRIS - An impromptu victory celebration highlighted the awards ceremony Sunday at the conclusion of the second Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass golf tournament.
Leah Wigger was doused in water by friends, who rushed the green as her final par putt settled into the hole right in front of the grandstand. She ran away briefly with her giggling buddies in hot pursuit.
The cooling off period was perfect on this warm but otherwise ideal day that allowed the sponsoring Island Resort and Casino, the Hannahville Potawatomi Tribe and the Symetra Tour Road to the LPGA players the opportunity to rejoice in another successful tournament.
Wigger, a University of Virginia golfer from Louisville, Ky., finished the spotless three-day tournament with a 7-under-par 209, matching that of Stephanie Kim a year ago when much larger crowds attended the first event. Kim was not in the field of 142 players after undergoing ankle surgery recently.
Sharing second place at 212 were Victoria Elizabeth of Dayton, Ohio, Nicole Jeray of Berwyn, Ill., and Victoria Park of Chungjoo, South Korea.
"This was such a great week," Kathy Lawrence, director of operations for the Symetra Tour, said at the awards ceremony.
Leah Wigger tries to run away from a shower of water thrown from a bottle by her caddy, Vicky Alimonda Lovelady, Sunday at Sweetgrass Golf Club. Wigger won the Symetra Tour event, prompting the celebration. (Daily Press photo by Dennis Grall)
Later, Lawrence said this area "is a well-kept secret. There was not one bad thing, except I didn't win on the blackjack table."
She said the event exceeded her expectations, which were already high after the LPGA Futures tournament last year drew extensive raves from everyone.
"You can see the girls. They so much enjoyed the tournament and the casino and relaxing. It was a thrill to be up here.
"Leah said this is the best golf tournament (on the Tour). I agree. The players left here with smiles. They had a very warm feeling."
Wigger, who received the trophy and a ceremonial blanket from the Hannahville tribe, told the crowd "this is the best tournament by far that we play. You guys really know how to do it up in the U.P."
She also praised the fans, tourney volunteers and sponsors.
"Your support and cheers mean so much to all of us," she said.
Lawrence singled out co-director Sue Harris for providing excellent support during the tournament, along with co-director Tony Mancilla, noting all the Symetra staff quickly stopped their clean-up operations for a group photo with Harris in front of the blue Symetra trailer.
"Sue has been right there with us. If we needed it, she stepped up and did it," said Lawrence.