Tornado alters little at Crestview

Spectators at next month’s Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open might notice a little less shade on a couple of Crestview Country Club’s front nine holes. But the scenic North course, which has hosted the Nationwide Tour event since 2001, was mostly spared by an April 14 tornado that rolled through the area.

“It’s probably more cosmetic than anything,” Crestview general manager Ken Nicholas said of the course damage at the tournament’s media day on Monday. “The North golf course is really going to be mostly unaffected.”

The adjacent South course — particularly the 10th through 13th holes — took the brunt of the storm’s impact with numerous uprooted trees. The most noticeable damage on the North course occurred on the third and fourth holes — dogleg left par-4s where a few tall cottonwoods were damaged.

Two cottonwoods that flanked the pond on the fourth hole and provided obstacles from the championship tee that will be used during the Wichita Open on June 21-24 were leveled.

“I think the PGA (tour officials) are going to be happy that one of those trees on (No.) 4 is gone because they never liked it anyway,” Nicholas said. “That was one of the things they noted in their original (evaluation). They felt like it forced the players to work their tee shot right to left, and was too much in play.”

Both Crestview courses were closed for four days after the storm. The South’s course back nine was closed for an additional period while cleanup continued. Nicholas said the random nature of the storm’s damage left the courses’ greens, fairways and tee boxes unharmed.

“You might have had a 15-foot (diameter) tree that was 100 feet tall picked up and moved 20 feet,” Nicholas said. “Then we’d have 10 or 15 trees that are two inches around that were completely unaffected. We saw a lot of that. Around the facility there was very minimal damage.”

Notes — Tournament director Roy Turner said the 2011 Wichita Open raised more than $212,000 for local charities. The tournament has set a goal of $250,000 in contributions this year.… Several pre-tournament events are scheduled, beginning June 14 with a benefit tournament for the Children’s Miracle Network.