Korn Ferry Tour announces new Compliance Solutions Championship at Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Oklahoma

“This is a market we’ve been targeting for some time.”

The Korn Ferry Tour is heading to Norman, Oklahoma.

Compliance Solutions and the Korn Ferry Tour announced Wednesday a new five-year partnership to host a professional golf tournament, the Compliance Solutions Championship, beginning in June 2023. The inaugural event will be played June 22-25, 2023, at the Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma. Jimmie Austin is the home of the University of Oklahoma’s men’s and women’s golf teams.

“We are thrilled to partner with Compliance Solutions to bring Korn Ferry Tour golf to The Sooner State,” said Korn Ferry Tour president Alex Baldwin. “Oklahoma is home to incredibly passionate golf fans, and this is a market we’ve been targeting for some time. Our membership is excited about the opportunity to compete at the Jimmie Austin Golf Club at The University of Oklahoma.”

The Compliance Solutions Championship will be a 72-hole tournament featuring 156 players.

The course has previously hosted the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links, the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, and NCAA regionals in 2012, 2018, 2022 (men’s) and 2013, 2019 (women’s) and is already scheduled to host NCAA regionals in 2023 and 2025.

Max McGreevy, a PGA Tour pro who earned his card on the Korn Ferry Tour, said he and others associated with the OU golf program are excited because this is something they’ve wanted for a long time.

“I’ve talked to some of the grounds crew, and they’re super thrilled,” McGreevy, an Oklahoma native and former OU golfer, said. “It’s a golf state; I think you saw that at Southern Hills a little bit, and I think you’ll see it at Jimmie Austin, as well.

“It’s tricky, but you can get after it if you get it going.”

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Ping signs three young pros to contracts: Cole Hammer, Logan McAllister and RJ Manke

The trio finished among the top five in the PGA Tour U standings to earn status on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Ping announced Tuesday it had signed three young professionals – Cole Hammer, Logan McAllister and RJ Manke – to multiyear equipment contracts. Each of the trio earned status for the rest of the Korn Ferry Tour season after finishing in the top five of this year’s PGA Tour University, which gives college players opportunities on various tours.

Hammer helped lead the Texas Longhorns to the 2022 NCAA Division I team championship, and he was medalist at the 2021 Big 12 Conference Championship. The Houston native has played on two winning Walker Cup teams and was awarded the 2019 Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top amateur golfer. He finished on Golfweek’s Third Team All-Americans list for the 2021-22 season.

McAllister, a native of Oklahoma City, had four wins in his college career at Oklahoma. As a senior, he was named to the Ping All-America first team and All-Big 12 first team. He finished on Golfweek’s Second Team All-Americans list for the 2021-22 season.

Manke in 2021-22 was a fifth-year senior transfer from Pepperdine to the University of Washington in his home state, where he was the Pac-12 men’s player of the year while earning Ping All-America first-team honors. He won four times in college, twice at Washington and twice at Pepperdine. He finished on Golfweek’s First Team All-Americans list for the 2021-22 season.

“Our college program continues to identify and build relationships with some of the top young players in the game,” Ping President John K. Solheim said in a release announcing the signings. “To have three of the top five from the 2022 PGA Tour U class is a testament to that commitment. Cole, Logan and RJ all had exceptional records throughout their college careers and are ready to take the next step into the professional game. We’re excited to be aligned with these talented players and look forward to supporting them as they transition to the pro ranks.”

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Korn Ferry Tour announces changes, record 30 PGA Tour cards available

Beginning next year, 30 PGA Tour cards will be awarded to the top players on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List at season’s end.

When PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced significant changes coming to the future Tour schedule, he failed to mention how the Korn Ferry Tour, the primary feeder system to the big leagues, would be impacted.

On Tuesday, those changes were revealed. Beginning next year, 30 PGA Tour cards will be awarded to the top players on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List at season’s end. KFT President Alex Baldwin touted the increase of five PGA Tour cards from 25 as “yet another sign our mission to produce the next generation of PGA Tour stars is working.”

The additional five PGA Tour cards available via the Korn Ferry Tour were announced in concert with widespread changes to the PGA Tour’s qualification process, including that 10 Tour cards would be awarded to the top performers on the DP World Tour.

For the first time in a decade, Q-School will offer PGA Tour status to the top five finishers and ties.

“Bringing back the awarding of PGA Tour cards at Q-School will be exciting for our fans, membership, and potential new membership,” Baldwin added. The Tour cards available via Q-School and the DP World Tour will first be awarded in 2023 for the 2024 PGA Tour season.

That means the Korn Ferry Tour Finals will no longer be a competition for Tour cards between the top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour and Nos. 126-200 in the FedExCup standings. Beginning in 2023, the four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals will serve as the culmination of the Korn Ferry Tour season, where members will compete for increased purses and points allocations. The four Finals events will feature $1.5 million purses and award 600 points to each winner. The other 22 events on the schedule will have a minimum purse of $1 million and award 500 points to winners. The 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season is scheduled to run from January to October.

“The additional Tour cards available and reimagined Korn Ferry Tour Finals will properly reward more players for season-long success,” Baldwin said. “Stretching our season into October while maintaining a 26-event schedule will allow us to compose the best possible tournament calendar with natural breaks, peak golf course conditions, as well as providing graduates with time to prepare for their transition to the PGA Tour.”

One nice perk will stay the same: the No. 1 player on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List will continue to earn an exemption into the following season’s Players Championship, as well as the following season’s U.S. Open Championship.

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Former Texas star Pierceson Coody earns first Korn Ferry Tour win in just his third start

Coody didn’t take long to earn his first professional win.

Three starts into his professional career and Pierceson Coody is already a winner.

Just a month after helping lead Texas to the team title at the NCAA Championship, Coody ran away to win the Korn Ferry Tour’s 2022 Live and Work in Maine Open at 20 under, five shots clear of runner-up Jacob Bergeron. The former Longhorn shot a 5-under 66 in the final round at Falmouth Country Club for his fourth round in the 60s of the week (69-62-67).

Nelson Ledesma, Will Gordon, Fabian Gomez and amateur Cole Anderson finished T-3 at 14 under. Zach Sucher shot the low round of the day, a 7-under 64, to climb into seventh at 12 under.

Coody finished in the top five of the final 2022 PGA Tour University standings to receive Korn Ferry Tour membership for the rest of this season, starting with the BMW Charity Pro-Am earlier this month. The Plano, Texas, native missed the cut at the BMW, then finished T-4 last week at the 2022 Wichita Open.

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Why isn’t Ted Scott on Scottie Scheffler’s bag this week in Canada? He’s got a great excuse

Instead of carrying Scottie Scheffler’s bag this week in Canada, Ted Scott is teeing it up on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Scottie Scheffler battled hard to shoot 3-under 67 on Friday in Canada. The world No. 1 and reigning Masters champion is doing so with Jordan Guilford as his caddie this week at the RBC Canadian Open.

Asked in an interview after the round if his regular bagman Ted Scott would be back in action next week at the U.S. Open, Scheffler was quick to say, “Yeah. He’s OK. He’s all right.”

Scott, the veteran looper who was on Scheffler’s bag for his third green jacket winner, is doing better than all right and there’s a good reason why he isn’t north of the border – he’s competing in the Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, South Carolina this week.

Scott, a former mini-tour pro and golf coach, describes his game as “the leader in other fairways hit” in his Twitter profile. He enjoyed some time behind the wheel on a race track ahead of the tournament and is listed as a “celebrity” amateur in the field.

Scott has been a caddie for 21 years, primarily with Bubba Watson, including for his wins at the 2012 and 2014 Masters. They split late last year and Scott joined Scheffler after the Ryder Cup at the RSM Classic. Scheffler, who was winless on the PGA Tour until February, has won four times in his last 10 starts.

Scheffler’s substitute caddie has worked for Andrew Putnam and Beau Hossler in the past, and Scheffler used him at two fall events before hooking up with Scott. Scheffler made it clear it’s a one-week gig.

For Scott, he’s soaking up the experience including having a caddie at his disposal.

“We were picking on him on the last hole,” Scott told PGATour.com, “because I said to him, ‘Hey, this is the one chance I have to get to have somebody get the pin out.’ He’s over there just hanging out with my buddy. ‘Like, dude, come over and get the pin out. I don’t want to touch this thing.’ ”

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With clock ticking, Korn Ferry Tour player leaves clubs at airport to make tee time, borrows set from pro

James Nicholas arrived at this week’s Korn Ferry Tour event minutes before his tee time after leaving clubs at the airport.

James Nicholas had a whirlwind morning before teeing off in the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship in Kansas City, Missouri.

The former Yale star who played both golf and football for the Ivy League school arrived at Blue Hills Country Club just minutes before his tee time. He had been an alternate and was not expected to make it into the field, but somehow earned a berth through a number of WD’s. Since his flight time cut things oh-so-close, Nicholas left his clubs behind at baggage claim and decided to immediately leave the airport and head to the course.

Upon arrival, Nicholas jumped out of the car and quickly asked officials if they had an extra set, shoes, and even a glove. Luckily for him, the club pro let him borrow his sticks and he was off.

Through 15 holes Thursday, he is 3 over. He’s made just one KFT start this season, the Astrata Golf Championship, and he missed the cut.

Watch his arrival here:

Nicholas posted these stories to his Instagram Wednesday explaining the hectic situation.

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Carl Yuan holds off Peter Uihlein to win Korn Ferry Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open in a playoff

Carl Yuan needed to survive a playoff to earn his first career win on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Carl Yuan drained a birdie putt from about eight feet away on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

Peter Uihlein then missed his from about six feet out, ironically at the exact moment that Davis Riley missed his playoff extending chip in the Valspar Championship some 800 miles away in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Two final-round playoff nail-biters, one first-time champion, as Yuan claims his maiden win on the Korn Ferry Tour. (Sam Burns prevailed in the Valspar for his third PGA Tour win).

Yuan, who in 2018 delayed turning pro so he could represent China in the Asian Games, previously had a tie for second and a tie third this season.

Now he has his breakthrough victory. It came after he tracked down Trevor Werbylo, who was leading for a good part of the final round at Le Triomphe Country Club in Broussard, Louisiana.

But Werbylo stumbled down the stretch with a double bogey on the 13th hole. Yuan, playing a few holes ahead, was then tied for the lead at 14 under. Werbylo closed with a bogey on the 18th hole, keeping him out of a potential playoff with Yuan, who had seven birdies on the day, and Uihlein.

Uihlein had 15 pars Sunday, eight of them on his back nine. His birdie on the par-4 17th was the key to making the playoff.

Both playoff participants stuffed their approach shots tight on the first extra hole but Uihlein’s burned the right edge, curling a bit around the right edge but staying out of the hole.

Werbylo and José de Jesús Rodríguez finished tied for third at 13 under. Seven golfers tied for fifth at 12 under.

Augusto Núñez, who finished T-12, matched Werbylo’s second-round 64 for low 18-hole score of the week.

Kyle Westmoreland, who became the first Air Force Academy graduate to earn a spot in the U.S. Open last summer, was among six golfers who finished T-15. Westmoreland has missed three cuts in five KFT events this season but his tie for 15th is now his career best finish.

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Sam Harrop stars as perfect lyrical parodist in golf’s social media realm

Singing about Bryson, Brooks, Phil and more has led to a level of notoriety for this witty English golf fan.

When Sam Harrop first sat down in front of his piano to figure out how to convert pop songs into brain worms for golf fans, he never imagined it would lead to a putt-putt contest with a PGA Tour-quality player.

But after good-naturedly calling out Ben An’s stroke with a song set to the Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” – with lyrics such as “Benny An, he putts like he has got glass eyes. Please, just get some tips from Larry Mize.” – then playing said tune on the baby grand in the lobby of An’s home club at Lake Nona near Orlando, the Korn Ferry Tour player responded with a friendly challenge on Twitter.

“I saw he was in town, precisely in Lake Nona, so I tweeted half-jokingly, we need to have a putting contest,” said An, who would break a six-year winless slump with a Korn Ferry Tour victory two weeks later, “and Sam came up with an idea to have a putt-putt match. And I won, by the way.”

For a self-described “golf nerd” such as Harrop who records his tunes at home in the south of England, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience despite the 3-and-1 loss at one of the Pirates Cove Adventure Golf locations in Orlando. And it’s all due to his clever golf lyrics in songs about PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LPGA players that led the Times of London to dub Harrop golf’s premier parodist.

“That’s completely nuts, the kind of thing that’s almost like a dream,” the 40-year-old Harrop said.

And it was a perfect illustration of how his songs have achieved must-see status for a die-hard contingency of Twitter-obsessed golf fans. Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen and plenty of other pros have been in Harrop’s lyrical crosshairs, and for many of the younger tour players, it’s a badge of honor to have Harrop include them in verse.

“I thought it was very funny,” the 30-year-old An – who has spent more than a decade bouncing around the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and recently rebranded DP World Tour – said of the song that made fun of his putting. “I knew it wasn’t personal, and everyone on my team thought it was funny. Even my wife did, too. It definitely is. You know you made it when he makes a song about you. And he only makes the songs to somewhat ‘nice’ guys who aren’t going to take it personally.”

DeChambeau and Mickelson might not feel the same after having been targets of parody, but the fans eat it up. Harrop has amassed a following into the tens of thousands on Twitter and Instagram, all eager for the next song. Even the pros are listening – and frequently responding. And while there have been other singers tackle golf in comedic fashion – think former PGA Tour player Peter Jacobsen and his group, Jake Trout and the Flounders – it’s Harrop’s uncanny social media ease and timing that have garnered so many views.

Not bad for a father of two young children in England who markets sheet music for a living.

“That’s honestly one of the best things about it,” Harrop said. “You have to realize, I came from basically being just a big golf fan, right, and a golf nerd just watching the golf every week. So going from that to having interactions with these players, with them either liking my videos or commenting on them or retweeting them, and these names flashing up saying something like ‘Nick Faldo just liked your video,’ it’s crazy. I just never really would have expected that.”

He knows his audience

Harrop is no novice when it comes to music, even though for most of his life it didn’t have anything to do with golf. He started piano lessons when he was 8 and also can play a mean cello, and he sang in choruses near home in England as a child. He studied music at the University of Southampton and played in bands and in bars throughout much of his 20s. He still is part of an acapella group in London that has been sidelined during COVID.

And he’s in no way new to social media. One of the bands in which he played keyboard, named RedBoxBlue, in 2008 became the first group to ever stream online gigs via Facebook. The band didn’t make it far, but that ingenuity is still evident in how Harrop approaches social media. He knows his audience, because really, he is a part of that same Twitter fan base that enjoys a fair amount of mostly lighthearted and entertaining snark.

“I sort of knew the small audience that I had would be receptive to those kinds of ‘in’ jokes, those little things that if you’re just a casual golf fan who just watches the majors, you probably wouldn’t understand a lot of it,” said Harrop, who used to write a golf betting blog. “There are always some niche references in there that I think only the real golf aficionados would appreciate.”

Things took off for Harrop in February of 2020 when he wrote “When Will Tony Finau Win Again,” set to the tune of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” Finau was on a streak of not winning despite a run of close calls, but he got a kick out the song and retweeted at Harrop, asking for a remix if he ever managed to climb back into the winner’s circle. With more than 180,000 followers on Twitter, Finau’s retweet earned Harrop a following.

“The week after I did the song, Tony was interviewed on Sky Sports over here, and they asked him about the song,” Harrop said. “And he said something like, ‘Oh, I loved it, I was watching it with my uncle and we laughed the whole time.’ And I thought that was just really cool for him to be asked about the song and for him to respond about it so positively. That really kicked off the whole thing. It lent credibility to the reason I was doing the whole thing.”

Harrop lived up to his end of the bargain, rewriting his lyrics into “The Day That Tony Finau Won Again” after Finau’s victory in The Northern Trust on the PGA Tour in 2021.

After that early surge following Finau’s tweet, Harrop came up with songs about the DeChambeau/Koepka feud of 2021 that led to the Tour trying to calm down the man-spat – parody gold, it turned out. The lyrics were observant and sharp without ever diving into mean-spirited territory – and honestly, they were hilarious so long as you weren’t Bryson or Brooks.

His most recent song, “Growing the Game” set to America’s “Horse With No Name,” has been lauded by his fans – the song makes reference to players who have considered playing for a upstart Saudi-backed golf league and who frequently say they only want to grow the game internationally and aren’t in it for the money.

That song came shortly after Harrop briefly questioned Mickelson’s comments and plans to play for the proposed Saudi league – and he was added to a growing list of fans who were blocked on Twitter by the six-time major winner, though Harrop is quick to point out the song had been in development for weeks before he was blocked.

“I just put it on Twitter that as someone who basically grew up following Phil and being a big fan of his, that he keeps making comments now that make me question my allegiance,” Harrop said. “And apparently that was enough to get blocked. It seems like a lot of people have been blocked. I didn’t even tag him in my post, so it must be him or one of his team going through and searching his name and blocking anyone who posts anything even vaguely negative or challenging, which seems a bit extreme.”

A left-hander himself, Harrop had grown up as a major Mickelson fan. He grew interested in golf watching the European Tour and PGA Tour with his dad most weekends. The family would occasionally play a local pitch-and-putt, though full-size 18-hole rounds were rare. After not following the game as much in college, Harrop again became a fan and occasional player when teeing it up with roommates between musical gigs around London.

Twitter notoriety

These days, it’s fair to say Harrop’s best swings come via piano and not on the golf course. He’s happy to make a few pars, and he’s thrilled that his Twitter notoriety has earned a few tee times at top-tier courses, such as the round at Lake Nona before he played the baby grand and sang about An. Playing with rental clubs on the home course to many Orlando-based Tour pros, Harrop lost more balls than he made pars, but he smiled his way around the course before capping the round with a tee-ball blast straight down the middle on the 18th hole.

“There used to be a time when I would get angry on the course, and now I accept that I will never really be very good,” Harrop said. “And that has lifted a burden, and I’m just out to hit a few good shots and maybe make a couple pars and enjoy my friends.”

So as a golfer, Harrop is a very good piano player. It sometimes takes weeks to develop his lyrics, while other times he feels a time crunch based on current events.

“The song kind of has to match the player or the narrative, if you like,” he said. “If I’m doing a song that’s just about a player, I’ll do a bit of research about their background, like what college they went to, any sort of big wins they have, that sort of thing. Trying to make it into a story, in a kind of way.

“But then if it’s more of a reactionary song, like Finau winning again or the Brooks and Bryson feud or the Saudi ‘Growing the Game’ one, its looking through articles about that sort of topic. (Golfweek columnist) Eamon Lynch, for example, I went through a couple of his articles when I was putting together that Saudi song and picked out a few highlights and things that he quotes. I make a short list of reference I want to get into the song and then just kind of find a way to tie them in.”

What’s next for Harrop remains further up in the air than any 9-iron he might ever hit. He has performed songs for the U.S. Golf Association and Sky Sports, and he was in Orlando to play the opening of the PGA Merchandise Show in January. He hopes to keep singing about golf, and there could be a new podcast or online video program with him commenting on golf from home – he’s open to ideas, and his enthusiasm for the game is as catching as one of his tunes.

“It’s all slightly pinch-yourself kind of stuff, really,” he said. “It’s almost become slightly surreal, because I’m just a guy with a normal job and I just have this sort of little hobby.”

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Despite bogey on 18, Byeong Hun An wins Lecom Suncoast Classic on Korn Ferry Tour

He twice previously lost a playoff on the PGA Tour but now he has a win on the Korn Ferry Tour.

He’s played in the Olympics (2016) and a Presidents Cup (2019). He was close to winning twice on the PGA Tour before falling short in a playoff. He does have three international wins but on Sunday, Byeong Hun An broke through with a win at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Lecom Suncoast Classic, his first win anywhere in seven years.

An carded a final-round 69 which included a bogey on the final hole at Lakewood National GC Commander in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. His four-day total of 17-under 267 (65-66-67-69) was good enough to win by a shot over a foursome of Seonghyeon Kim, Scott Harrington, Ben Griffin and MJ Daffue.

Eight other golfers tied for sixth at 15 under, including Michael Gellerman, whose double-bogey 6 on 18 proved costly. Gellerman started the day with his first 54-hole lead on the Korn Ferry Tour in 65 starts.

The Korn Ferry Tour takes a month off before returning with back-to-back events in Louisiana at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in Broussard and the Lake Charles Championship.

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How a former college superstar used a breakthrough week on Sungjae Im’s bag to kickstart his own pro career

Choi was a three-time All-American at North Carolina State. He’s now playing on the Korn Ferry Tour.

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — Albin Choi turned last year’s LECOM Suncoast Classic into a major stepping stone in his return to playing professional golf.

The 29-year-old from Toronto shot a 66 in the Monday qualifier one year ago to earn a berth in the field of 144. He responded by firing a first-round, 9-under 62 to tie the tournament’s 18-hole record before eventually finishing in a tie for 14th place.

“It was a good week for me,” said Choi, who is back at Lakewood National Golf Club this week for another crack at the title. “It just means a little more to me now.”

Choi is back on solid ground this time around following a tumultuous decade in his life.

Choi starred at North Carolina State, where he won nine collegiate titles and was a three-time All-American before turning pro in 2013. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in the spring of 2013.

It was during his college career in 2011 that his mother Ericka took her own life.

“As far as the journey goes, it’s not something I saw coming or anyone else saw coming,” Choi said.

Choi soldiered on with his golf career, playing in 110 Korn Ferry tournaments with six top 10 finishes before the bottom fell out following the 2019 season. He lost his Korn Ferry playing status and suddenly found himself in some serious debt.

But Choi began the climb back by working as a caddie at the posh Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens. He was caddying as many as 36 holes per day, while he continued to work on his game.

Then Choi caught a break in 2020 when PGA Tour player Sungjae Im asked him to carry his bag for the Honda Classic. Im went on to win his first PGA title and Choi received 10% of Im’s $1.26 million paycheck, along with the base caddie rate and a healthy tip.

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The two had become friends in 2018 while playing together on the Korn Ferry Tour. Choi, who speaks fluent English and Korean, also served as Im’s translator, as well as caddie, for a period of five months.

His time as Im’s caddy enabled him to get back on his financial feet and allowed him the opportunity to resume his own playing career. It also offered him a unique view of the game at its highest level.

“From a learning perspective, it was one of the best experiences I could have had,” Choi said. “I had a front-row seat to see how the players prepare and how they go about their business, on and off the golf course. I am always trying to learn. I got to experience that.

“I knew a lot of the guys out there. I watched how hard they worked. It motivated me to work a little bit harder. Seeing the level of play out there was good for me to see.”

For now, Choi is simply glad to be back on the course, playing the game he cares so much about.

“I’m just happy to be here with everything that has been going on the last few years,” he said. “I have been given another chance to play and compete, so I can’t ask for anything more.

“I love playing. It’s something that I have always done. As long as my body allows me to play, I am just going to keep playing as long as I can.”

LECOM Suncoast Classic

WHAT: Regular stop on the Korn Ferry Tour, the path to the PGA Tour.
WHO: 144 golfers competing for 72 holes of stroke play.
WHEN: Today-Sunday.
WHERE: Lakewood National Golf Club (Commander course, par-71, 7,112 yards).
PURSE: $750,000 (top prize is $135,000).
TICKETS: $20 at the gate for adults, children under-17, active duty military, veterans and first responders are admitted free of charge with a valid ID.

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