Former Kansas State golfer Aaron Watkins enjoys the atmosphere when the Web.com Tour comes to the area.
The Web.com Tour, an affiliate of the PGA Tour, will return to the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate for the fifth time this summer. The Digital Ally Open is scheduled for Aug. 6-9 in Overland Park.
Watkins finished second in the tournament last year, and he hopes another strong showing will help him return to the PGA Tour.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time on the Web.com Tour,” Watkins said during a news conference Tuesday. “I’d love to be on the PGA Tour but I never really have any complaints about coming to Kansas City and enjoying all the good people around here.”
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The tournament was formerly known as the Midwest Classic before Digital Ally, a technology business based in Lenexa that specializes in law enforcement surveillance, became the corporate sponsor as part of a five-year partnership.
“We’re really excited about the 2015 Digital Ally Open,” said Brendan Von Doehren, a Tournament Business Affairs associate for the PGA. “Obviously tournaments like this aren’t made overnight and they’re brought to new heights really by great partnerships.”
There will be more than a week of festivities surrounding the event, which will benefit a variety of charities. They begin on Aug. 1 with a 5K race starting and ending at the REI store in the Prairiefire shopping center, as well as Pro-Am events at the course Aug. 3 and 5.
Proceeds from tickets purchased online can be donated to a list of charities. A daily pass is $10. More information on the tournament can be found at DigitalAllyOpen.org.
The Web.com Tour is a step below the PGA Tour, but 50 golfers earn PGA cards at the end of the season. Web.com Tour alumni have won 148 times on the PGA Tour in the last five years.
Last year, Web.com Tour member Darron Stiles was struggling coming into this tournament, but played well and used it as a “springboard” for his late season run. He’s now 29th on the money list.
“This year, coming in, being two weeks before the end of the season, I hope to be in the same position,” Stiles said. “Keep the positive momentum from last year and keep it going this year. Fantastic golf course, love the test that it provides.
With the tour’s season winding down, the tournament provides an opportunity for players to make a late season push to secure a PGA Tour card for next season.
“Once I get to Kansas City, it’s kind of crunch time. You’re gonna know if it’s feast or famine,” said Watkins, who currently is in 36th place. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”