WinCo Foods Executives, Lagardere Sports Executives, members of the media and former PGA TOUR player Casey Martin were all in attendance today at Media Day for the sixth annual WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. Voted the 2018 Tournament of the Year on the Korn Ferry Tour the WinCo Foods Portland Open marks the finale of the 24- event Korn Ferry Tour regular season where 25 PGA TOUR cards are awarded on Sunday as pro’s compete on the famed Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, August 8-11.
Special guest Casey Martin, current head coach of the University of Oregon Golf Team (2016 National Champions) joined Lagardere Sports executive, Jeff Sanders on stage for an exclusive interview for guests and media in attendance. Martin, a former PGA TOUR player and Eugene, Oregon native, has inspired people around the sports world to achieve greatness in their sport regardless of obstacles.
Along with his impressive golf resume, Martin has built an equally impressive resume as a coach. Since taking the job at the University of Oregon, Martin has fostered a National Championship (2016) and coached his players to tremendous individual success including two Jack Nicklaus Award winners, one Fred Haskins Award winner, three Pac-12 Golfer of the Year winners, 21 all-pac-12 players and 16 regional honorees. These team and individual achievements garnered him National Coach of the Year in 2017 and two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2017.
Martin’s success as a coach has also gone beyond the college ranks as his recent players have gone on to immediate success on both the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR, most notably PGA TOUR winner Aaron Wise (2018 AT&T Byron Nelson Champion) and 2018 Korn Ferry Tour graduate Wyndham Clark who finished T5 at the PGA TOUR 3M Championship this past weekend.
“Wise was amazing from the moment he stepped on campus. He has this air of confidence that is very unique,” said Martin. “He has a lot of internal belief in his skills and abilities and it’s a huge part of his success.”
“Wyndham has the prototypical game that you covet. He hits it long and he can putt and chip like you can’t believe. Wyndham has an incredible work ethic and he’s a grinder. He’s going to be a winner on the [PGA TOUR].”
Martin also had a lot to say about the talent that has flooded the Korn Ferry Tour over the last several seasons. “The game is changing. It is becoming more athletic and these young guys are made for it. Week to week, I’m not sure the best players on the [PGA TOUR] would make the cut at the Portland Open. These guys are fearless, and they can putt like crazy.”
As the Korn Ferry Tour season approaches its peak next month at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the field of great golfers has never been as strong. Recent Stanford University Alum, Maverick McNealy, is one such highly touted player winning pac-12 Player of the Year honors (2016) and was the world’s top ranked Amateur in 2017 before turning pro.
Other top players include University of Alabama alum Robby Shelton (ranked #2 on the Korn Ferry Tour) who notched two wins so far this season and University of Texas alum Scottie Scheffler (#3 on the Korn Ferry Tour) who has one win and two runner-up finishes. Fighting for his place in the field is University of Oregon alum, Norman Xiong, one of Casey Martin’s pupils and the Jack Nicklaus and Fred Haskins award winner in 2018.
The WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz will be broadcast globally live on Golf Channel all four days. The professionals will compete for a purse of $800,000, the largest of the 2019 regular season, with the winner receiving $144,000.
From Portland to PGA TOUR
In just the first five years of the WinCo Foods Portland Open there have been 54 PGA TOUR wins by players who earned their PGA TOUR cards here in Portland. The most recent winner was Nate Lashley who won the Rocket Mortgage Classic in wire to wire fashion with a 25-under par performance to win by 6 strokes.
Players who have received their cards at the WinCo Foods Portland Open in the past include PGA Championship winner and 2017 PGA TOUR Player of the Year winner Justin Thomas, 2017 PLAYERS Champion Si Woo Kim (youngest player to win THE PLAYERS Championship), 2017 TOUR Championship winner and Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, and PGA TOUR winner and University of Oregon alum Aaron Wise.
Players compete throughout the season on the Korn Ferry Tour for position on the Points List with the top-25 ranked players receiving their PGA TOUR card on the 18th green of Witch Hollow.
Last year’s tournament featured the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year Sungjae Im. The 20-year-old South Korean native put a bow on his 2018 season dominance with a victory at the WinCo Foods Portland Open. After starting the season with a win at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay in January, followed by 3 runner-up finishes, Sungjae Im was primed for another victory. Shooting four stellar rounds in the 60’s and a Thursday low of 65, Im finished Sunday with a score of 18-under par.
Second place finisher John Chin kept it close throughout the tournament closing with a 5-under, 66 in the final round making a Sunday surge on the back 9. Im withstood the barrage of birdies from Chin and came away with the victory. Im’s record breaking 2018 campaign concluded at the WinCo Open as the only wire-to-wire money leader in Tour history as well as being named the Korn Ferry Tour’s Player of the Year.
All Fore Charity
While the action on the course was as exciting as we have seen, the most important score was not on the leaderboard. The WinCo Foods Portland Open broke its own record for the second consecutive year raising $1,425,00 for charity. Since the tournament’s inception in 2014 it has raised nearly $6 MILLION for charity.
WinCo Foods has committed to give 100% of all ticket sales to deserving local charities and youth organizations. More than 100 local non-profit organizations are currently selling tickets and keeping 100% of the revenue from their sales through the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ program. Tickets are $15 for any one day or $25 for the entire week. One of the best ticket values in Oregon sporting events held annually. Parking is again free all week and kids 17-and-under are again admitted free all week.
All-new BMW Fan Deck Adds More Fun for Fans
Along with a number of special events and fan enhancements that will be available for all spectators attending the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the tournament announced the opening of the new BMW Fan Deck presented by NBC Sports Northwest. The on-course hospitality venue will be located on the par-3, 12th hole where fans can enjoy great views of the exciting golf action. The Fan Deck will be open to all spectators at the tournament with no additional cover charge and will feature ‘Beers Fore Birdies’ offering discounted beer for 12 minutes every time a professional makes birdie or better on the 12th hole.
Also located on the 12th hole, The Grove will return as well. The Grove, a fan favorite beer and wine experience will feature more than 25 of the best breweries and wineries from the Pacific Northwest. All tournament tickets include admission to the BMW Fan Deck, the Grove, and 10 complimentary tastings for fans 21-years and older. Both venues are open Thursday – Sunday of tournament week.
On Saturday, Family Day presented by KinderCare Education will take place from 10:00am - 2:00pm and the first 250 kids in attendance will receive a tournament gift package and free lunch voucher. Following the Family Day activities on Saturday, the Under Armour Junior Clinic will be held at 2:00pm on the Ghost Creek Driving Range. All youth in attendance will get the opportunity to learn some tips and tricks from the pros and receive a gift package courtesy of Under Armour. Admission is free for all youth 17 and under.
Sunday morning will feature a complimentary breakfast available at the Witch Hollow clubhouse for ALL ticket holders courtesy of General Mills from 9am-12pm.
For more information and to buy tickets, please visit www.WinCoGolf.com