Golf

PAST WINNERS HAVE HAD MIXED RESULTS

Jeff Woodland had an extended stay for his one professional golf tournament in Wichita. Thanks to Mother Nature and a stubborn playoff opponent in Bob May, Woodland won the 1992 Wichita Charity Classic at Reflection Ridge in the tournament's only Monday finish.

It was the second of three Hogan Tour victories in 13 months for the Australian, who has no trouble recalling its significance 17 years later.

"That particular win helped me gain my (PGA Tour) card," said Woodland, now 52 and a club professional at Samford Valley Golf and Country Club outside of Brisbane, Australia. "I won twice (in 1992) and finished sixth on the money list.

"Thanks to Wichita, it allowed me to fulfill my dreams and have a go at the PGA Tour."

Woodland spent the next three years trying to live the dream. His jet-lag-defying exploits at the 1993 PGA Tour qualifying tournament, in which he tied for fourth to regain his card, were outlined in David Gould's book, "Q School Confidential." But after a rugged 1995 season in which he failed to make a cut in nine starts, Woodland returned to his homeland to be with his wife and two toddler sons.

"It was getting harder," Woodland said. "You can (play the tour) when it's just you and your wife. But when you have children, it becomes more difficult."

Woodland settled into the life of a club pro, and has been at Samford Valley for eight years. The semi-private course has about 250 members. He lives on 1 1/2 acres in a valley surrounded by two mountain ranges.

Since he turned 50, Woodland has scratched his itch to compete by playing on Australia's Legends Tour. With his sons now 17 and 16, Woodland's competitive juices are flowing enough to consider returning to the United States to attempt to qualify for the Champions Tour.

Woodland jokingly said that might include a guest-room request from his friend and fellow Aussie, Ian Baker-Finch. Baker-Finch, the former British Open champion and television commentator, and Woodland served as best man at each other's weddings.

Whatever the case, Woodland said his tenure at Samford Valley will likely end soon.

"I've probably had enough of that as far as the hours and the long days," Woodland said. "I've done my penance so to speak.

"I think it's time to pursue something different.... And I really enjoyed it over there the first time."

OTHER PAST WICHITA OPEN CHAMPIONS

1990

Tom Lehman

What he's doing now: Lehman, the 1996 PGA Tour player of the year, turned 50 in March and is splitting his time between PGA and Champions Tour events. He won his senior debut, the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, a team event with Bernhard Langer. Lehman has more than $20 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour.

1991

Eric Hoos

What he's doing now: Hoos, a former college roommate of PGA Tour veteran John Daly at Arkansas, has been the men's golf coach at the University of Denver since 1999. He has led the Pioneers to seven consecutive NCAA regional appearances and their first Sun Belt Conference title in 2008.

1993

David Duval

What he's doing now: The former world No. 1 player and 13-time tour winner dropped to 882nd in the world rankings, but in June, Duval tied for second in the U.S. Open at Bethpage and established himself as a fan favorite. It was his best finish on tour since the 2002 Memorial Tournament.

1994

Dennis Postlewait

What he's doing now: Postlewait's victory in the Wichita Open was his only top-10 finish in two seasons on the Nike Tour. Now living in Orlando, Postlewait has regained his amateur status and is a senior vice president at Fiserv, which offers technology solutions for financial institutions.

1995

David Toms

What he's doing now: After a subpar season by his standards, Toms, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, has bounced back in 2009. He had seven top-10 finishes through June, raising his career earnings over $31 million.

1996

Rick Cramer

What he's doing now: Cramer, who was born in Independence, earned his lone tour victory in Wichita. He lives in Surprise, Ariz., and is the Desert Series tournament director for the Gateway Tour.

1997

Ben Bates

What he's doing now: Bates, who won the first Wichita Open played at Willowbend Golf Club, has spent most of his professional career on the Nationwide Tour. He entered 2009 as the tour's career leader in cuts made with 205. Bates played on the PGA Tour from 1998-2001.

1998

Emlyn Aubrey

What he's doing now: Aubrey's last appearance in a Nationwide Tour event was the 2008 Wichita Open. Earlier this year, the 18-year veteran of the PGA and Nationwide tours was hired as men's and women's golf coach at Centenary.

1999, 2007

Brad Elder

What he's doing now: Elder returned to the Nationwide Tour this year after reaching the PGA Tour for the second time in his career in 2008. He made five cuts in 12 events through June. Elder is the only two-time winner of the Wichita Open, winning at Willowbend and Crestview.

2000

Ben Crane

What he's doing now: Crane, who won the Wichita Open as a Monday qualifier, has been on the PGA Tour since 2002. Boosted by three top-10 finishes in the first half of the tour season, Crane has already surpassed $1 million in yearly earnings for the sixth time.

2001

Jason Dufner

What he's doing now: Dufner, the first Wichita Open winner at Crestview, has bounced between the Nationwide and PGA tours this decade. After earning his card at Q-school for 2009, Dufner posted four top-10 finishes through June and has already set a career best for season earnings with more than $1 million.

2002

Tyler Williamson

What he's doing now: After making just two cuts in 15 events last year, Williamson did not play in a Nationwide Tour event during the first half of 2009. He finished 23rd on the Nationwide money list in 2002 and 62nd in 2004, but has not had a top-10 finish in a tournament in four years.

2003

Jeff Klauk

What he's doing now: Patience has paid off for Klauk, a PGA Tour rookie. After seven seasons on the Nationwide, Klauk finished third on the money list last season to earn his card. He made the cut in his first seven tournaments this year, and also tied for 14th in The Players Championship at Sawgrass, where his father recently retired as course superintendent.

2004

Bradley Hughes

What he's doing now: The Australian played in three Nationwide events earlier this year during the tour's swing through Australia and New Zealand. He missed the cut in all 10 of his Nationwide starts last year, including the Wichita Open.

2005

Joe Daley

What he's doing now: Daley, 48, maintained his status on the Nationwide with the help of three top-10 finishes in 2008. He had played in 14 tournaments through June, making the cut in five starts. His best finish was a tie for 13th in the New Zealand Open.

2006

Kevin Johnson

What he's doing now: Defying the odds. Johnson, who played in the inaugural tournament in Wichita, made it to the weekend just three times in 2008. But this season, he won two tournaments in three weeks to become a candidate for the tour's "battlefield promotion" to the PGA for three-time winners.

2008

Scott Piercy

What he's doing now: Having a solid rookie season on the PGA Tour. Piercy finished in the top 10 in two of his first six tournaments, adding to a torrid second half of 2008 in which he climbed to ninth on the Nationwide money list to earn his tour card.

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