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Edmond gets ready for Monday's opening of U.S. Senior Open

After more than two years of planning, the U.S. Senior Open starts Monday in Edmond. The seven-day tournament is expected to bring in $12.9 million to Edmond’s economy.
by Diana Baldwin Modified: July 3, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 2, 2014


photo - Above:  Saundra and Frank Naifeh’s home backs up to the Oak Tree National golf course in Edmond, where the U.S. Senior Open Championship starts Monday.  PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN  SARAH PHIPPS -
Above: Saundra and Frank Naifeh’s home backs up to the Oak Tree National golf course in Edmond, where the U.S. Senior Open Championship starts Monday. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN SARAH PHIPPS -

— Blue and peach flowers are blooming throughout Edmond just in time for Monday’s opening of the 35th U.S. Senior Open Championship.

The flowers in the colors of the tournament didn’t just happen. Their planting was part of the planning — two years of planning — for Edmond to host the tournament that is expected to bring more than 120,000 people to Oak Tree National throughout next week.

A new $5.9 million road project along Kelly Avenue, from Covell to Coffee Creek roads, was completed in time for the seven-day tournament that boasts 156 professional golfers over age 50.

Trash is being picked up and grass is being mowed along the route to the golf course one last time.

Landscapers are making last-minute touches in neighborhoods surrounding the golf course. Garbage pickup has been altered in the area, and the trash from the golf course will be picked up at 4:30 each morning.

>>Read: Oak Tree National gets some help from Mother Nature

“This is a huge event for Edmond,” said Cathy Williams-White, Edmond Convention and Visitors Bureau director. “A lot has gone into this. We have lived and breathed it the last couple years.”

Tournament officials are expecting 2,500 volunteers to donate their time during the tournament, which will be televised for more than 14 hours on NBC and ESPN2 to more than 100 countries.

“It takes a whole lot of people to make this come off,” said Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director. “They have planned for everything.”

‘A big deal’

Volunteers and spectators are expected to come to Edmond from 40 states.

“It is very exciting,” said Frank Naifeh, whose home is adjacent to what will be the No. 2 hole for the tournament. He will oversee 350 volunteers who will help with security, access, medical care and golf carts.

“We have been meeting, and the volunteers are ready to go,” Naifeh said.

Among them is his wife, Saundra Naifeh, former mayor and a board member of Edmond Beautiful, the group that urged residents to plant flowers throughout town to match the tournament’s colors.

Chris Palmer, a co-chairman of 1,500 of the volunteers, will oversee the marshals, merchandise tent, front gate and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said finding volunteers wasn’t tough.

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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IF YOU GO

Tickets: Practice round tickets for Monday through Wednesday, $20 and $40; championship tickets, for July 10-13, $45 and $65; weekly tickets, $125 and $225. Admission is free for children 17 and younger who are accompanied by a ticketed adult. Tickets available at www.2014ussenioropen.com or at Buy For Less or Uptown Grocery stores.

Public parking: Spectator parking is on the northeast corner of Waterloo Road and Kelly Avenue. The intersection will be closed by 6 p.m. Sunday and throughout the tournament. Spectators must enter the lot by arriving from the east on Waterloo Road. Law enforcement and signage will direct spectators to the public parking lot. Public parking in and around Oak Tree National is strictly prohibited.

Handicap parking: Spectators with a valid handicap placard can park at the public parking lot on the northeast corner of Waterloo Road and Kelly Avenue. Wheelchair-accessible shuttles will transport spectators to the main entrance. Parking and shuttle transportation are free.

Military Appreciation Day: U.S. Golf Association, along with the Oklahoma-based Folds of Honor Foundation, will host a day to honor the military Tuesday. All current and former military personnel and their families with proper identification will receive complimentary admission for Tuesday’s practice round. Military personnel will be able to secure their tickets at the admissions gate.

More information: www.2014ussenioropen.com

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