EUREKA, Ill. (WMBD) — A central Illinois tradition is back for its 10th year; the annual Ledgestone Insurance Open was played in Eureka Sunday afternoon despite COVID-19.
The event got started earlier in the week and took place at multiple courses throughout central Illinois. Professional disc golfers from all over the country came out and can’t wait to come back next year.
Sunday afternoon, the final round of the 10th Annual Ledgestone Insurance Open brought many out to Eureka Lake Park, some fans traveling miles to be there. The Ledgestone was the first event on the Disc Golf Pro Tour to welcome live fans and Lucas Mangles of Wichita, Kansas made sure to be a part of the action.
“I would’ve gone to Emporia if they were allowing spectators, my parents live in southeast Iowa so it was a good stopping point,” Mangles said. “I was looking forward to it as soon as I knew they allowed spectators.”
Pro disc golfers travel from all over the country to take part in the prestigious tournament. Chris Dickerson a two-time tour champ said this event offers golfers a chance to get a big pay day.
“Nate always does a really good job of getting a lot of added cash for this tournament,” Dickerson said. “There’s a good opportunity to make a good amount of money in our sport here.”
Dickerson finished in third place and he said he was glad to see fans present because he remembers the day without them.
“It was lonely. There was no one to clap, no one to enjoy disc golf,” Dickerson said.
Fans said they missed the sound of the chains clanking together when their favorite golfers make it in the basket. Ronald Nakis from Pittsburgh said being in person made it an unforgettable experience.
“100 percent worth it. I’ve gotten to see some of my disc golf heroes, I’ve seen some of my good friends shoot good rounds. And what better way to social distance than disc golf,” Nkais siad.
Tournament director Nate Heinold said safety was important factor when planning the tournament in a pandemic and is glad everything went smoothly.
“It means the world to me to host this event,” Heinold said. “I spend half of my year and hours working on and it’s incredibly exciting to be here with great weather and all these people here social distancing and wearing masks .”
The tournament orgnaizers also raised $60,000 dollars for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.