Woody Austin can get from Crestview Country Club to his home between Derby and Rose Hill in about 12 minutes.
The 17-year PGA Tour veteran is almost certain he's never had a shorter commute from a professional tournament to his own bed. It's intriguing for Austin, who confirmed Tuesday he plans to compete in next week's Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open on Crestview's North course.
Austin, 47, will be making his third Nationwide Tour start of the year when the $600,000 tournament begins June 16. It will be his fourth Wichita Open appearance and first since 1998, when the tournament was played at Willowbend Golf Club. Austin, who moved to the Wichita area nine years ago with his wife, Shannon, and two sons, is now an ownership partner at Willowbend.
"I've had a lot of people say they would love for it to happen," Austin said in a phone interview from the PGA Tour's St. Jude Classic in Memphis, where he will begin play Thursday. "It all depended on how I was playing. I told people if I felt like I was playing well, there'd be a good chance."
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Austin, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, attempted to qualify for next week's U.S. Open in a 36-hole sectional event Monday in Tunica, Miss. He shot 7-under-par 137, missing a playoff for the last of 10 available spots by two strokes.
"I played pretty good (Monday)," Austin said. "I'm actually starting to think I can play my way out of the funk I've been in."
Austin, who is 54th in PGA Tour career earnings with more than $15 million, lost his full-time playing privileges on the big tour in 2010 when he finished 129th on the season money list. The top 125 at the end of each year retain their tour cards.
Before he plays in Wichita, Austin will compete at the site of his last PGA Tour victory. He won the 2007 St. Jude Classic after firing a final-round 62 at TPC Southwind. Later that year, Austin posted his best finish in a major, finishing second to Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship at Tulsa's Southern Hills. Austin also played on the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup team.
"We are thrilled to have a player of Woody Austin's stature in this year's field," Wichita Open tournament director Roy Turner said in a statement. "Over the years he has enhanced Wichita's reputation to professional golf and the entire state of Kansas. We look forward to having Woody compete at Crestview next week against all the terrific players on the Nationwide Tour."
This season, Austin has made seven PGA Tour starts, making the weekend cut three times. He posted top-40 finishes in the Nationwide's Stadion Classic and BMW Charity Pro-Am last month, his first starts on the developmental tour since 1999.
Austin, the 1995 PGA Tour rookie of the year, participates in an annual benefit golf tournament at Crestview for the Wichita Children's Home. It was conducted in May.