(Orlando, FL) - No one in the day’s final group saw the ball go in the hole. Even using range finders from the tee box, neither Baik nor her playing partners, Hailey Davidson and Christina Hwang could tell where it was. The greens were firm and Davidson it actually might have run through the green. JB Baik said she didn’t want to get her hopes up, but once she saw her yellow Titleist in hole she could not contain her joy. Hitting her Callaway APEX 7-iron from 161 to a slightly uphill fourth green at Rio Pinar Country Club, Baik hit her first Hole in One in competition (her third overall) and also the first Hole in One on the new women’s professional developmental tour, the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour.
Just launched in January, The ECWPGT is currently playing its Winter Series Finale at Rio Pinar Country Club in Orlando, FL. This is the seventh and final event in the series. To date, the Tour has hosted more than 160 different players and distributed more than $150,000 in case prizes to rising professional female players. The ECWPGT opens its Inaugural Official Tour season May 11-13 at Sun n’ Lake Golf Club in Sebring, FL before it heads to New England. It will also make stops in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and host its exclusive Q School Prep Series in California. Tour players so far represent 22 states and 14 countries and are comprised of players rising to the Epson Tour, recent college graduates starting their pro careers, Epson Tour players and former LPGA players working their way toward regaining Status. As a true developmental tour, the ECWPGT does not allow current LPGA Members in its fields.
JB’s ace propelled her to a 3-under 69 on the day, for a four-shot lead at four under par (71-69). Sitting at even par are Hailey Davidson (72-72) of Kissimmee (FL) and Mariel Galdiano (73-71) of Orlando. Former Campbell University player Sandra Angulo Minarro (Torreón, Mexico) (74-72) and recent University of Central Florida grad Elizabeth Moon (73-73) are both T4.
Said Baik, “When I hit the shot, I knew it was a good shot, but no one said anything. We couldn’t see it. Once we got there, Hailey said, “I think it’s in the hole, let me get my phone; we need a video!’ Once I saw it, my heart dropped. ” She added with a laugh, “My putting was pretty bad for the first few holes, so I figured why bother putting? I’m kidding. I was so excited. I was jumping up and down. I wanted to enjoy moment. It almost never happens. It was hard to get my adrenaline under control after that.”
Mariel Galdiano, who played her college golf at UCLA, had one of the only other two rounds under par today with a 71. The other was former Loyola Chicago player Elayna Bowser (Dearborn, MI), who bounced back from an 80 in the first round with a stout 71 of her own today.
Baik, Galdiano and Davidson tee off at 9:48 AM on Wednesday. Tee times begin at 8:00 AM
The East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour was launched in 2022 with the dual missions of creating more and better playing opportunities for those aspiring to the LPGA Tour, and creating connections outside the ropes for when their competitive days are over. The ECWPGT is one of only three developmental tours for women professionals. While open to players from anywhere, the ECWPGT brings professional golf tournaments to the players, particularly those on the eastern part of the country for whom few opportunities existed before without extensive travel. The ECWPGT is open primarily to the developmental professional players rising toward the LPGA, including all Epson Tour players, but does not currently allow LPGA Members unless returning from injury or maternity leave. The tour will accept amateur players ages 15 and over on a waitlist basis as space permits. The tour’s website www.ECWPGT.com.