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Galleri Classic: Rain, bogeys, family and Easter eggs made this year's event memorable

The second edition of the Galleri Classic is in the books and the senior tour event seems to be settling nicely into its new home.

To a man, the players love playing the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club, the former home of the LPGA major held in the desert before moving to Texas after the 2022 version.

And even the unusually cold and damp weather didn't curb the enthusiasm of the players. The champion Retief Goosen joked that he's enjoyed it so much here he might have to look into some property on the course.

More: Unlikely finish! Retief Goosen survives chaos of final holes to win soggy Galleri Classic

Between the raindrops and the unforeseen conclusion of the event where the golfers atop the leaderboard started collecting bogeys like a child collecting Easter eggs, there were plenty of storylines from this year's event. Here are just a few.

The curse of 14-under

One of the most interesting stats about the weird final nine holes is that three different players made it to 14-under, but champion Retief Goosen was not one of them. Goosen, who won the event with a 13-under final score, watched at Steven Alker, Ricardo Gonzalez and Alex Cejka all climbed as high as 14-under on the final day of the Galleri Classic, before shifting into reverse and fading back down the leaderboard.

Retief Goosen walks off the 18th green after winning The Galleri Classic as Ricardo Gonzalez emphasizes with Troy Martin, caddie for Steven Alker, at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday, March 31, 2024.
Retief Goosen walks off the 18th green after winning The Galleri Classic as Ricardo Gonzalez emphasizes with Troy Martin, caddie for Steven Alker, at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday, March 31, 2024.

Alker bogeyed 17 and 18 to finish 12-under. Gonzalez bogeyed 14, 16 and 17 before a birdie on 18 got him back up to 12-under. Cejka bogeyed 15 and 16 to finish 12-under.

Goosen, meanwhile, had no bogeys on the day, reaching 13-under with a birdie on the 15th hole and then stayed at 13-under the rest of the way. For comparison, last year's winning final score was 15-under by David Toms.

On the course with dad

Izzi Stricker, Steve Stricker's daughter and caddie, waits for her father with a club after his shot from the fairway on seven during the Pro-Am at The Galleri Classic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Thursday, March 28, 2024.
Izzi Stricker, Steve Stricker's daughter and caddie, waits for her father with a club after his shot from the fairway on seven during the Pro-Am at The Galleri Classic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Thursday, March 28, 2024.

One trend that is popular on the senior tour is that many of the players at the Galleri Classic this week have their sons or daughters as caddies.

Makes sense if you think about it, right? Most of these guys are in their 50s so many of them have children who are teen-agers or early 20-somethings and in many cases are talented young golfers in their own right.

Steve Stricker had his daughter Izzi on his bag. Brian Smock, a player from the San Diego area had his 15-year-old son Ty as his caddie. It's fun to watch that dynamic play out on the tees, fairways and greens.

"He'll probably boss me around and try to tell me what to do out there, but it's going to be fun having him with me," Smock said.

Wild weather

One of the big storylines at this year's event was the weather. Record-breaking cold and rainy conditions both Saturday and Sunday was a rare turn of events for a weekend in the desert that can often reach the 90s.

Saturday's high temperature of 62 degrees set a record as the lowest high temperature on March 30 in the desert's recorded history, breaking the record of 64 set in 1927. There was a drizzling rain on Saturday and a harder but sporadic rain on Sunday. None of it ever rose to the level of suspending play.

The players were hampered more by the cold and wind than the rain they said, including this funny exchange between Goosen and Alker after Saturday's round.

Ryan Rue, caddie for Scott McCarron, walks his bag down from the 18th tee box as a cart splashes through a puddle during the final round of The Galleri Classic at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday, March 31, 2024.
Ryan Rue, caddie for Scott McCarron, walks his bag down from the 18th tee box as a cart splashes through a puddle during the final round of The Galleri Classic at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday, March 31, 2024.

Goosen: "It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. Trying to keep your hands a little warmer. We got a bit luck, we expected worse. I've played in much colder weather than this before."

Alker: "And Retief's got some more muscle and meat on his body than me. I was putting a jacket on for the last three or four holes and he was in short sleeves."

Easter Sunday

With the final day of the tournament coinciding with Easter Sunday there were two Easter-related moments at the Galleri Classic.

Early in the morning there was a sunrise Easter service attended by around 125 people. The service was held on the lawn in front of the 18th green.

Then at noon, there was an Easter egg hunt on the driving range. Around 40 kids hurried around the range adding plastic eggs to their baskets. The Easter Bunny was on hand but the kids were focused on those eggs. It was a fun moment and thankfully happened in between raindrops.

Dozens of kids were treated to an Easter egg hunt on the driving range Sunday at the Galleri Classic, a PGA Tour Champions event at Mission Hills Country Club.
Dozens of kids were treated to an Easter egg hunt on the driving range Sunday at the Galleri Classic, a PGA Tour Champions event at Mission Hills Country Club.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Galleri Classic: Rain, bogeys and Easter eggs made this year memorable