Top women golfers in the world play in Kraft Nabisco Championship

Men watching the tournament impressed by caliber of play

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - There is no shortage of men in the gallery at Mission Hills Country Club this week, taking in the LPGA Tour's first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Yet, you'd be hard pressed to find any male chauvinists among them.  In fact, the guys are in awe of the high caliber of golf they're witnessing.

"The girls are good, they're very good," said golf fan Barry Howell.

Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench was also watching first round action on Thursday.

"They're in such good physical shape, they train for it and they're dedicated, and I admire it," said Bench.

Bench, an avid amateur golfer, said he never tires of watching the ladies play.

"It's still amazing that they can generate so much distance and so much accuracy, I  guess I am jealous more than anything," he said.

It turns out the touring pros like Palm Desert High School Alum Nicole Castrale who is in the field, know the men are watching.

"I've always thought men amateurs can relate better to us than they can to the PGA Tour.  We probably hit it more comparable in distance," said Castrale.

By watching the ladies take their swings, men admit, they have a chance at improving their golf games.

"The swing speeds are a little bit slower, so you can really see the swing, really appreciate the smoothness, the tempo," said Howell.

Fellow fan Bob Heavilin said he can learn by watching the ladies execute the basics of the game.

"Actually, I think it's just the ability to make contact with the ball, you know they seem to be able to do that very well," he said -- compliments the ladies on tour no doubt appreciate as they showcase the fundamentals of the game.

"You know, girls tend to swing a little more within themselves, and they're better than probably most people think.  We're probably better than most people think," said Castrale.

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