For the fourth year in a row, the Web.com Tour Midwest Classic will take place at the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate. Kansas City’s only professional golf tournament is set to begin play on Thursday and will conclude Sunday. Gates will open at 7 a.m. each morning.
Tournament events that began Monday included a free junior golf clinic and a chance for fans to watch the professionals practice. The Pro-Am will be played Wednesday, with the first tee off at 7:30 a.m.
“The LionsGate community loves this tournament,” said Tim Lynch, one of the volunteers from the Kansas City Crusaders, the host organization for the tournament. “It brings a great national notoriety to Kansas City and to Overland Park, and so I think they welcome us with open arms for this week.”
The Kansas City Crusaders are volunteers who work to put on the tournament each year in order to raise money for local charities through the promotion of professional golf. All proceeds from ticket sales are given to local charities that register through the Tickets for Charity program of the Midwest Classic.
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The playing field is made up of 156 golfers trying to earn their way onto next year’s PGA Tour. A total of 50 players on the Web.com Tour will earn PGA Tour cards at the end of the season, including the top 25 players on the money list and the top 25 finishers in the season’s final four tournaments.
The Midwest Classic has a purse of $600,000, and the winner of the tournament will take home $108,000. The field will also include some local golfers.
Michael Letzig, 34, is a Richmond native and former University of New Mexico golfer. He said he hasn’t played in many tournaments this year but expects to play well this week. He played in the Watson Challenge in June and finished tied for ninth with a 3-over 219 in the 54-hole tournament at the Country Club of Loch Lloyd.
Curtis Yonke, 23, is a former Kansas State golfer and Blue Valley West graduate who won the Kansas 6A state golf tournament in 2007 and 2008. He shot a 6-over 222 in this year’s Watson Challenge and fished tied for 16th.
Last year’s Midwest Classic winner was Jamie Lovemark, who won by 1 stroke. He’s currently 176th in the FedEx Cup rankings.
Lynch said Monday’s junior golf clinic was the largest group the tournament has seen for the event, with nearly 50 kids who participated in the clinic. The contract between the Kansas City Crusaders and the PGA Tour will keep the Midwest Classic in Kansas City through the 2016 season. Lynch said he hopes they can renew the contract to keep the tournament in town and to show that Kansas City is a “viable professional golf tournament destination.”
“Over the last few years we’ve seen a progressively growing list of ticket sales. I think that more people realize that this comes back every year, (and) they look forward to it,” he said.
Tickets for the Midwest Classic are $25 for a grounds pass good for all four days of the tournament or $10 for single-day grounds passes. Tickets can be purchased online at midwestclassic.com or at the gate.
Parking for the event will be located at the southeast corner of 135th and Nall in the Cornerstone and Church of the Resurrection parking lots with free shuttle transportation to LionsGate.