Big crowds overflowing parking lots

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

Organizers of the CN Canadian Women's Open were scrambling yesterday to find extra parking and to improve traffic flow into the premises after another record crowd of 13,500 visited the London Hunt and Country Club yesterday.

Two-day attendance stands at 26,000 -- another record -- and the Royal Canadian Golf Association and the Hunt Club organizing committee are bracing for bigger crowds today and tomorrow with Canadian Lorie Kane in contention, just four shots behind tournament leader Angie Stanford of Saginaw, Texas.

Tournament co-chairperson Doug Alexander said last night measures were being taken to assist spectators visiting the course today.

"My best advice is to get here early," he said.

Alexander said arrangements have been made with the city to park cars in an open field at the city recycling yard across from the club, creating an additional 500 spots. The tournament committee secured the new lot after 1,000 cars filled the overflow lot at St. Thomas Aquinas secondary school. That lot was acquired after the general parking lots at the club filled to capacity when 12,500 came to the opening round Thursday.

Day 2 featured traffic jams and, believe it or not, scalpers.

London police volunteers responsible for security on the grounds gave a stern warning to one London golf fan who was selling tickets in the general parking lot.

"Security dealt with it; somebody was cautioned," Alexander said. "There's probably freebies (tickets) out there and somebody's trying to sell them to people entering the tournament.''

Alexander didn't know if the tickets were being sold at face value -- $25 -- or for less.

Traffic was backed up on Oxford Street for two blocks around noon as many spectators attempted to get to the club in time to follow some of the big-name players such as Kane, Cristie Kerr and first-round leader Stanford, who had afternoon tee times.

Alexander said additional police will help direct traffic today, which he expects will peak around noon as spectators arrive in time to follow Kane.

"Like any major sporting event, there's always trouble getting in," he said. "I don't like upsetting patrons, but like anything else when you have a large crowd, it's a nice problem.

"The crowds are outstanding, just outstanding. You never know (when you are planning) how many people will show up -- and speaking to people here from outside of London, they say what a great sports centre it's becoming."


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