It’s known as a developmental tour, but the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic won’t totally support that notion this week.
Twenty PGA Tour winners are among the field of 156 golfers who will begin play Thursday morning at Crestview Country Club. The group, which includes Derby’s Woody Austin, has combined for 39 victories on the big tour.
Billy Mayfair has won five PGA Tour titles, most of anybody in the field. He has more than $20 million in career earnings. Joe Durant and Heath Slocum each have four victories. Austin has won three times, most recently the 2007 St. Jude Championship.
Roughing it – A rainy spring and subsequent warm weather has transformed Crestview’s zoysia fairways and bentgrass greens into a green oasis. Tour golfers who have visited Wichita multiple times have noticed.
“The course is very healthy,” Jason Gore said.
Pro-am golfers commented on the thickness of the rough Wednesday, saying the search for wayward balls were challenging.
“The rough is very thick,” said Web.com money leader Michael Putnam, who is playing here for the fifth time and first since 2010. “That’s a difference I notice with the tournament being earlier in the year.”
Sunflower Staters – Austin is also part of a group of seven players in the field with Kansas connections.
Former Wichita State golfers Ryan Spears and Dustin Garza are entered. Spears is a Web.com rookie, while Garza, who played on the tour in 2011, received a sponsor’s exemption.
Aaron Watkins, who played at Kansas State, will make his sixth Air Capital Classic appearance. Former Kansas golfer Chris Thompson, who lives in Lawrence, advanced through Monday qualifying and will play at Crestview for the third time.
Club pros Greg Bray of Terradyne and Trent Rommann of Crestview will also compete.
More on the veterans – The Air Capital Classic trio of Austin, 2006 champion Kevin Johnson and Marco Dawson share some history – and we do mean history – heading into this year’s tournament. All played in the inaugural tournament when it was the Reflection Ridge Open in 1990.
Johnson tied for seventh in the then-Hogan Tour event. Dawson tied for 16th and Austin missed the cut. Tom Lehman won the 54-hole event.
Etc. – Colombia Championship winner Patrick Cantlay and two-time PGA Tour champion Vaughn Taylor withdrew from the tournament Wednesday. That opened spots for Danny Ellis and Fran Quinn. … Twenty of the top 25 golfers on the Web.com money list are competing at Crestview. … The field will be cut to the low 60 and ties after Friday’s second round.