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Golf

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Hotel Fitness Championship drew 25,700 fans

– The inaugural Hotel Fitness Championship drew 25,700 fans, according to tournament director Duke Butler IV.

“We’re absolutely pleased with those numbers,” he said Wednesday. “We were hoping to get near 30,000 and that’s what we did. The community showed great support. They really rallied around our leader board on the weekend, and who could blame them with the names we had on there?”

The four-day tournament at Sycamore Hills Golf Club was won by Trevor Immelman, who was 20 under and pocketed $180,000 of the $1 million purse Sunday.

He edged, by one stroke, Patrick Cantlay. Scott Gardiner and Kevin Kisner tied for third at 18 under.

According to Butler, there were 12,000 fans on Saturday and Sunday combined.

The tournament, which is part of the Web.com Tour’s Finals, but also features players from the PGA Tour, is slated to be at Sycamore Hills for at least two more years.

Players competing are after the money, of course, but also their PGA Tour cards for the ensuing season, which is why names such as Chris DiMarco, Scott McCarron and Ryo Ishikawa were at Sycamore Hills last week.

“We’re looking forward to growing it and enhancing it and making it bigger,” Butler said. “Just having the event in the first year will help us tremendously in the future. We were trying to educate the community about the caliber of talent we would have at the event. To have a former Masters champion win the tournament, we couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Organizers estimate $4 million in economic impact for Fort Wayne, which was showcased through daily coverage by the Golf Channel. Fort Wayne native Billy Kratzert was a commentator.

“The Golf Channel did a great job showcasing the town,” Butler said. “They talked … about other area attractions and really put the spotlight on Fort Wayne.”

The Hotel Fitness Championship is run by the Western Golf Association.

jcohn@jg.net

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