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Air Capital Classic needs $70K to meet goal

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Monday, Sep. 9, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013, at 9:45 a.m.

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A community-based sponsorship program has generated more than $200,000 in pledged support for Wichita’s annual professional golf tournament, but its director says approximately $70,000 more is needed in the next three weeks to secure its immediate future.

Air Capital Classic director Roy Turner emailed the tournament’s board of directors Monday with an update on the Air Capital Ambassadors, a program introduced this year to offset the loss of longtime tournament title sponsor Preferred Health Systems. Turner also mentioned Oct. 1 as a key date for determining whether the Web.com Tour event at Crestview Country Club will observe its 25th consecutive year in Wichita.

“We still need 5 Ambassadors for two years to make our aggressive 2014-15 budget,” Turner said in the email. “Our fiscal year ends on October 1st, as does our cash flow.

“We have prospects and we continue to wait on answers.”

The Ambassador program’s $15,000 and $30,000 annual options were designed to diversify sponsorship and help fill the void of a six-figure contribution made for more than a decade by PHS. Turner and tournament officials conducted a series of meetings with prospects in the past month and raised the Ambassador total to 13.

“I’m very proud of those who have stepped forward, and $200,000 is out of this world,” Turner said. “We just haven’t met the target that we need to stabilize the tournament.”

The Air Capital Classic is one of four remaining tournaments from the Hogan Tour, which was created as the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit in 1990. First played at Reflection Ridge and later Willowbend, Crestview’s North course has been its home since 2001.

The Ambassador program will help cover operating expenses for the tournament, which has raised almost $1 million for area charities since 2006. The Air Capital Classic produced $140,000 for charities this year by running and hosting events, and making donations to groups who donate their time and expertise to the tournament.

Turner said he has not been given a set date by the Web.com Tour to determine whether the 2014 tournament will be played. But he stressed urgency on Monday.

“Please do not be under the impression that our future is stable or we have time beyond October 1st to make it that,” Turner said in his email.

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