Friday, May 25, 2018

Transitions puts best foot forward seeking a new sponsor

PALM HARBOR — Innisbrook and its Copperhead Course are not only on display to golf fans around the world this week, but to potential sponsors as well. This is the final year of a four-year title sponsorship deal for Transitions Optical, which spent an estimated $7 million per year to have its name on the PGA Tour tournament.

Members of the Copperheads, the committee that runs the tournament, will host title sponsor candidates this week.

"Tournament week is the best time to showcase your event," tournament director Kevin Krisle said. "It's when the spotlight of golf is focused in on your community."

Pinellas Park-based Transitions Optical felt it was time to move on.

"We think there are things we can do with our marketing that can expand upon this," Transitions president and chief operating officer Dave Cole said. "We're going to take it to the next level. It's bittersweet. It's been very fast and I've loved every minute of it. It's been great for our company."

The Innisbrook tournament is the only one on the schedule without a title sponsor for 2013. While there is no time frame to secure a title sponsor, something has to be decided by the time the schedule is solidified in the fall.

"I'm very encouraged with the discussions that we have had with the PGA Tour," Krisle said. "We know the players love the tournament and it's got a lot of momentum behind it. We think they want to see it keep going and I'm sure a lot of other people do, too."

Catching up with Brittany: Seminole's Brittany Lincicome was part of Monday's Shelton Quarles Pro-Am. Today, Lincicome takes off for Phoenix to play in the Founders Cup. She started her season tying for second at the Australian Open in February. That was followed by two low finishes in Thailand and Singapore.

"By the time I got to Singapore I was ready to come home," she said.

In 2011 Lincicome won twice, made the Solheim Cup roster and earned $1,154,234. This season looks just as promising after her start in Australia.

"I'd never started that way before," she said. "It was nice to see my game evolve early in the year instead of waiting six or seven events."

Lincicome is starting to get recognized as one of the LPGA Tour's marquee players. As for becoming one of the top five players, she knows she has work to do.

"They work a little bit harder than I do," she said. "They aren't taking seven days off and going fishing. Obviously if I put a little more time and effort into it I might be in that category.

"But at 26, I'm enjoying what I'm doing and making a lot of money doing it. A lot of girls say around 30 is when you peak, so we're going to try to get to No. 1 by that time."

Pro-Am: The team led by pro Harris English won the Shelton Quarles pro-am with a score of 14 under. The celebrity member of the team was former FSU and Bucs quarterback Casey Weldon. Other members were Rick Bouchard, Ray Bouchard and Doug Graska.

Monday qualifiers: All four qualifiers were decided at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville. Kyle Reifers, Frank Lickliter, Robert Damron and Todd Dempsey are in the field.

Today's schedule: Pros will play practice rounds throughout the day. Admission to the course is free.