Five things to know and 10 golfers to watch at this week’s Wichita Open

It’s that time of the summer again where the 17th hole pavilion at Crestview Country Club becomes the go-to party spot for Wichitans this summer.

The 30th annual Wichita Open kicks off Thursday morning at the north course of Crestview Country Club, which will bring the top golfers on the Tour and a rowdy crowd watching from the 17th hole.

The Eagle has compiled a list of five things fans should know before going and 10 golfers to watch in this tournament’s field that includes 11 PGA Tour winners.

Five things to know before you go

1. When is it? The Wichita Open is this Thursday-Sunday at Crestview Country Club North course with the field of 156 players teeing off from holes No. 1 and No. 10 starting as early as 7 a.m. to as late 2:15 p.m. the first two days.

2. How do I get tickets? Ground passes are available for $10, while children 12-and-under, seniors 65-and-over and active military get in free.

3. Where do I park? Fans are being asked to park at Beechcraft, located at 101 N. Greenwich Road, for a $6 parking fee with all funds being donated to the YMCA. From there, fans will be shuttled to the front gate at Crestview and be required to go through a metal detector prior to gaining entrance, per PGA regulations.

4. Can I still get tickets to the 17th hole? VIP passes, which include entry to the 17th hole pavilion, have been sold out for Friday and Saturday. But $75 tickets still remain for Thursday and Sunday.

5. How much money is at stake? There is a $625,000 purse in the tournament with the winner taking home $112,000. As for Wichita, the tournament is expected to draw more than 48,000 people and generate a record-high $7 million in economic impact for Wichita.

Five golfers to watch with local ties

1. Harry Higgs

Higgs is currently ranked No. 19 on the Tour and has three top-10 finishes in 14 starts this season. The Kansas City native earned his best finish of the season by tying for second place at the KC Golf Classic in May, part of seven top-25 finishes that has him eying his first PGA Tour card. Higgs, who now resides in Dallas, will tee off No. 1 at 1:05 p.m. Thursday and No. 10 at 7:50 a.m. Friday.

2. Rafael Becker

The former Wichita State golfer who was named the Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Year in 2012 has recently joined the Tour and will make a homecoming of sorts this week. Becker, a native from Brazil, has a season-best 37th place finish at the Knoxville Open in May. Becker, who now resides in Dallas, will tee off No. 10 at 1:35 p.m. Thursday and No. 1 at 8:20 a.m. Friday.

3. Chase Hanna

The Kansas City native went on to play for Kansas in college and has since been trying to carve out a career on the Tour. This will be his third Tour start of the season with his top finish of the season coming at the Evans Scholars Invitational, where he notched a 63rd place finish. Hanna, who now resides in Leawood, will tee off No. 1 at 2:15 p.m. Thursday and No. 10 at 9 a.m. Friday.

4. Joseph Winslow

Originally from Overland Park, Winslow has made seven of 13 cuts this season and earned his best finish of the season with a tied for 26th place finish at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship. Winslow is best-known in Kansas for winning three state titles at St. Thomas Aquinas in high school, as his younger sister, Baile, and brother, Michael, also won state titles with Aquinas. Winslow, who is ranked No. 115 on the Tour, will tee off No. 1 at 8:20 a.m. Thursday and No. 10 at 1:35 p.m. Friday.

5. Michael Gellerman

Gellerman wasn’t born in Kansas, but moved to Sterling at a young age and golfed for Sterling in high school. He is coming off his first career Tour victory with an 11-under total at the KC Golf Classic in May. Gellerman will tee off No. 1 at 7:10 a.m. Thursday and No. 10 at 12:25 p.m. Friday.

Five title contenders to watch

1. Xinjun Zhang

The 32-year-old is coming off of his second victory of the season last week at the Lincoln Land Championship. Zhang is the Tour leader in total winnings ($380,226) and points this season.

2. Sebastian Cappelen

Cappelen will try to recapture the magic he found for his first Tour victory at the 2014 Wichita Open. The former Arkansas standout is ranked No. 13 on the Tour and could secure a PGA Tour card with another strong showing this week.

3. Scottie Scheffler

In his second year as a pro, the former Texas star has taken off with one title and seven top-10 finishes this season on the Tour. He currently is ranked No. 3 on the points list and is in search of a fourth top-3 finish.

4. Vincent Whaley

A Tour rookie, Whaley earned his third top-10 finish of the season last week in Springfield, Mo. He is currently ranked No. 11 on the Tour.

5. Dylan Wu

After a second-place finish last week, Wu jumped 178 spots in the rankings to No. 55 on the Tour. The 22-year-old has plenty of momentum going into this week in Wichita.

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