Former University of Oregon star and 2016 NCAA Champion Aaron Wise made eight birdies and an eagle en route to a 64 in Thursday’s opening round of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Wise shot 34 on the front nine and 30 on the back nine including an improbable eagle on the par-4, 13th hole when he holed his approach shot from the fairway. With a large crowd cheering him on throughout the round, Wise birdied the par-5 18th hole to join a tie for second place, one shot behind the leader Conrad Shindler.
“There’s a lot of people out here supporting me. It’s a great event and to start off well puts me in a good spot for the rest of the week,” said Wise. “This is an event that’s been on my radar for a long time and one that I’d really like to win.”
After winning the Air Capital Classic earlier this season, Wise entered the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the final event of the regular season, ranked 18th on the money list. With his PGA TOUR card secured, he looks to jump up in the rankings before the start of the Web.com Tour Finals.
Round 2 of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz continues Friday morning. Wise will tee off at 1:00PM on the 10th tee.
For tickets and information about the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz CLICK HERE.
Web.com Tour’s Regular-Season-ending event to remain at Pumpkin Ridge through 2020
The Web.com Tour and WinCo Foods announced today a three-year title sponsorship extension of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz through 2020. The event’s 2017 edition is set to begin on Thursday morning at the Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, where 25 PGA TOUR cards for the 2017-18 season will be awarded following the conclusion of Sunday’s final round.
“We are excited to announce today’s extension of the WinCo Foods Portland Open,” said Web.com Tour President Dan Glod. “This tournament has established itself as one of the Web.com Tour’s premier events by creating a championship-caliber atmosphere on one of our best golf courses, while continuing to create a strong charitable footprint in the greater Portland area.”
Since 2014, the tournament has generated more than $4 million for local charities, including $1.25 million in 2016 alone, which set a record for charitable donations by a golf event in the state of Oregon. The tournament’s Nabisco Tickets for Charity program drives much of the success, allowing local charities to sell tickets to the tournament while keeping all of the proceeds.
“We are thrilled with WinCo Foods decision to extend our contract to run the “25 Card” WinCo Foods Portland Open for 3 more years at Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge,” said Jeff Sanders, Executive Vice-President, Lagardère Sports. “This is a big day for over 100 benefiting charities. In just four short years the event has generated over $4.3m for local non-profits while showcasing PGA TOUR golf for local fans to enjoy. This is exciting news for our great city.”
The extension announcement will keep the event at venerable Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club through 2020 as well. The club’s Witch Hollow Course has hosted several major tournaments over the last 25 years, including two U.S. Women’s Opens and the iconic 1996 U.S. Amateur, where Tiger Woods captured his last amateur title before turning professional just weeks later.
Over the last three years, the course has played host to some of the PGA TOUR’s rising stars, including recent PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas (2014), THE PLAYERS Championship winner Si-Woo Kim (2014-15) and two-time TOUR winner Daniel Berger (2014).
As the final event of the Web.com Tour’s Regular Season, the WinCo Foods Portland Open is the last tournament where players can secure one of 25 PGA TOUR cards awarded following the final round. An additional 25 cards are available through the four-event, season-ending Web.com Tour Finals, which begin next week in Columbus, Ohio.
Promoter Sanders’ team likely to keep the Pumpkin Ridge event and its charitable contributions going.
Now into his seventh decade foraging the universe, Jeff Sanders isn’t exactly inching toward retirement.
“I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been, in a good way,” says Sanders, 61, executive director for the Web.com Tour’s WinCo Foods Open, set for Aug. 24-27 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course. “I’m having a lot of fun.”
Sanders is executive vice president for golf events in North America for Lagardere Sports and Entertainment, which has become increasingly active in promotion of golf events in the United States.
Since the former Sunset High, University of Oregon and PGA Tour golfer joined Lagardere in 2013, the company has added four PGA Tour events to its repertoire.
Sanders and Lagardere promote the Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and the Safeway Open at Napa, California, and will soon take on the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta, California. In addition, they serve as consultants for the Dean and DeLuca Invitational at Fort Worth, Texas.
Lagardere also runs two-day celebrity charity events in Minneapolis and Scottsdale, Arizona, along with Web.com Tour stops in Portland and Boise.
“I’m proud of our (promotional) team,” Sanders says. “We had to step up and grow. Any time anyone acquires a company, they do it to grow. It was a challenge for us. I believe I have the best team in this industry.”
Sanders promotes two of the most important events on the Web.com Tour, the secondary PGA Tour featuring the “next best” 156 players.
The $800,000 WinCo Foods Open is the last of 22 regular events on the Web.com Tour, with PGA Tour cards riding on finishing the week in the top 25 spots on the money list.
The $1 million Albertsons Boise Open, coming up on its 28th year, is one of the four major tournaments that end the Web.com Tour season.
There’s no question that the WinCo Foods Open, now in its fourth year, features tremendous golfers. Those who have participated in the first three WinCo Foods Open events have gone on to claim 22 PGA Tour tournament championships. That includes Justin Thomas, who has won three PGA Tour events this year and ranks fourth on the money list with more than $5.1 million in earnings.
This year’s WinCo Foods Open features a local angle — Aaron Wise, who led Oregon to the 2016 NCAA championship. Wise won the Air Capital Classic at Wichita, Kansas, in June and ranks 13th on the Web.com Tour money list with $187,122 in 11 tournaments. He seems assured of gaining one of the 25 PGA Tour cards that will be handed out after the Winco Foods Open.
Sanders provided Wise with a sponsors exemption at the Safeway Open last October and spent time in his gallery at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January.
“When he’s on, he appears to be the real deal,” Sanders says. “He hits it high and hard and can shoot real low. That’s what separates him. He can put a 61 or 62 up, and you have to be able to do that to win out on the tour now.
“Aaron is a real strong player. I was impressed with his driving and his putting. He plays with no fear. The NCAA win at Eugene Country Club gave him the confidence he needed. He looks like he’s ready to play with the big guys now.”
How will Wise fare on Pumpkin Ridge’s Witch Hollow layout?
“He’s going to be tough,” Sanders says. “It helps to hit the ball high in there. The greens get firm and fast, and hitting the ball high helps.
“Hitting it long helps on a few holes, too. When Tiger Woods won the U.S. Amateur at Pumpkin (in 1996), he turned the par-5s into par-4s by cutting corners with his driver. Aaron has that kind of length.”
Sanders is proud of the charitable contributions his tournaments provide. A year ago, the WinCo Foods Open raised $1.25 million for a variety of charities. He expects the figure to be in the same range this year. Lagardere’s seven events will account for more than $8 million charitable contributions this year.
“That’s our scorecard,” Sanders says. “The companies we work for, that’s what they care about the most. It’s been a rewarding year for us.”
Word is WinCo Foods is prepared to sign a contract with Lagardere that will extend the tournament for three more seasons at Pumpkin Ridge. Sanders wouldn’t confirm it, but says things are moving in a positive direction.
“When we started this event four years ago, we were most excited about having the 25 PGA Tour cards, making it meaningful to the pros and playing at a championship-level venue,” Sanders says. “We love the course. We love the date. We love the spotlight for Portland. With all these guys playing for their livelihood, it’s real dramatic.
“Secondly, we wanted to give more money to charity than any golf event ever staged in Portland. We’ve hit that goal. We’ve had some great golf events in Oregon over the years, so from a charity standpoint, it’s been fun to lead the league.”
In the 1990s, when the secondary tour began as the Ben Hogan Tour, Sanders eyed four potential cities in which to promote an event — Sacramento, Tacoma, Boise and Portland.
“Boise was right at the time, because it was the smallest of the four cities, and a good fit,” Sanders says.
Now, four name changes later, Portland is “the perfect size” for the Ben Hogan/Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide/Web.com Tour, Sanders says.
“It was too big back then,” he says, “but not anymore.”
The WinCo Foods Open is one of the best bargains on the Portland sports fan’s calendar. A daily ticket is $10. A weekly pass costs $25. Children are free. Parking is free. A free breakfast is provided for all starting at 9 a.m. on the final day.
And, a free junior clinic, sponsored by Nike and put on by participating Web.com Tour pros, is set for Wednesday.
During the tournament, fans can suds up at the Kraft Brew Garden alongside the par-3 No. 12. A contest offers a lucky fan a new Honda auto if the fan’s player notches a hole-in-one. There are plenty of hospitality and public-viewing suites alongside the 18th hole.
It’s good entertainment at very little cost. I’m all for that. I’m betting you are, too.
Aaron Wise, a former Oregon Ducks standout, shot a 2-under 68 to close out the win at the Air Capital Classic, a Web.Com Tour event in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday.With the win, Wise earned $112,500, picked up a cool propeller trophy — and earned his PGA Tour card for the 2017-2018 season.
Wise, who turns 21 on Wednesday, finished the week 21-under-par 259.
Oregon fans may remember that Wise won the individual title at the 2016 NCAA Championship and led the Ducks men’s golf team to their first team championship.
Since then, the Cape Town, South Africa native’s path to the PGA Tour has been gaining momentum. He won his first tournament as a professional last July and has progressed from the Mackenzie Tour (known as the PGA Tour Canada) to the Web.Com Tour.
Wise is scheduled to play in the WinCo Foods Portland Open on August 24-27 at Witch Hollow Golf Course at Pumpkin Ridge.
By Molly Blue
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The birdie putt on the seventh hole Sunday was from 24-1/2 feet. When it dropped, Si Woo Kim knew he stood alone atop THE PLAYERS Championship leaderboard. Then something unexpected happened in the pressure-packed environment on one of golf’s most challenging tests.
Kim got comfortable.
Wait, let’s amend that.
Kim – the youngest active player on the PGA TOUR — got comfortable.
Comfort is not supposed to be an option, not here, not at TPC Sawgrass, and especially not for 21-year-olds with limited experience in these matters. THE PLAYERS Stadium Course is meant to rattle your cages, test your mettle, fray your nerves.
But on a Sunday afternoon when the heat is usually ramped up, Kim became the coolest player on the course. Calm. In control.
“Once he got the lead,” said his caddie, Mark Carens, “that was the least pressure he felt.”
So for his final 11 holes, while his chasers struggled to keep pace and make him sweat, the Korean-born Kim — who now lives in Dallas, Texas – piloted a steady ship, deftly relying on his scrambling ability to bail him out of any precarious situations. He never stumbled, eventually producing a bogey-free 3-under 69 and a 10-under total – good enough to make him the youngest champ in PLAYERS history.
The statistic that most reflects his winning round was easy to identify: Kim missed 10 greens in regulation, and successfully scrambled each time. Three of those were out of greenside bunkers — and each one was a thing of beauty.
“If you are on your game and playing well, that’s the things you do,” said Louis Oosthuizen, his playing partner Sunday. “You up-and-down when you’re in trouble. You don’t give shots away. If you can do that around this golf course, you can outscore everyone.
“And he played like someone that was doing it for five or six years, like it was just another round of golf. … Never once did he look flustered.”
That’s surprising, given his age. But then, he seems to be a player who’s ahead of the curve.
Kim gained his TOUR card through q-school at age 17-1/2 – and then had to wait a half-year before reaching the mandatory age of 18 to play on TOUR. After spending two years on the Web.com Tour, he regained his TOUR card for the 2015-16 season and made a big early impression on his caddie. In his fourth start, he opened with consecutive bogey-free rounds (sound familiar?) en route to a tie for 17th.
“It was unbelievable,” Carens said.
Then at the Wyndham Championship last August, in just his 23rd start on TOUR, Kim shot a second-round 60 – he missed a 50-foot putt on his final hole for a 59. He eventually won that week in convincing fashion, by five strokes in a final round that seemed eerily familiar to how THE PLAYERS unfolded. Once Kim snagged the lead, he never let it go.
He credits the week at Sedgefield with helping him deal with Sunday’s pressure. He said knowing he had a two-year exemption on TOUR freed him up to be more aggressive. (Of course, by winning THE PLAYERS, he now has another five years.)
“Because of that experience,” Kim said through his interpreter, “I could be relieved and I could be very stable. I just focused on myself and I didn’t try to think about others’ scores.”
There wasn’t much to think about, honestly.
Third-round co-leaders Kyle Stanley and J.B. Holmes, playing in the final group, were a collective 15 over. Most of that was on Holmes, who shot a 12-over 84. The previous two PLAYERS winners, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day, shot 79 and 80, respectively. The two players who did shoot lower than Kim on Sunday — Brendan Steele and FedExCup leader/world No. 1 Dustin Johnson — started too far back to make noise.
Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter supplied the most pressure, both making their biggest moves at the par-5 11th. Oosthuizen eagled the hole to go to 7 under; Poulter birdied it to reach 9 under. But Poulter quickly gave the stroke back on the next hole and Oosthuizen stumbled with consecutive bogeys.
Both had the edge on Kim in experience, especially in dealing with intense situations – Oosthuizen’s an Open champ, Poulter’s a Ryder Cup star. But they could not match Kim on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, instead finishing tied for second, three strokes separating them from the winner.
“You have to take your hat off,” Poulter said. “You have to respect some good golf, and that’s exactly what he’s done.”
The performance speaks for itself, but in some ways, Kim’s win was most unexpected.
Consider his Strokes Gained rankings – the TOUR’s primary method to reflect a player’s performance in certain areas against the field — coming into this week:
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee – ranked 205th.
Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green – ranked 203rd.
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green – ranked 204rd.
Strokes Gained: Putting – ranked 183rd.
Strokes Gained: Total – ranked 203rd.
His only solid category was Around-the-Green, in which he ranked 41st, a reflection of his short-game prowess.
Noting the statistics, the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee called Kim’s win “perhaps the greatest upset you’ll ever see.” TPC Sawgrass, Chamblee added, “puts everybody on edge, pretty much turns it into a scrambling contest – and he won it.”
But perhaps we shouldn’t view this win as a huge surprise. You don’t just stumble into two TOUR wins before reaching the age of 22. Perhaps Kim is the next great Korean star, following in the footsteps of another PLAYERS champ, his mentor K.J. Choi. After all, Kim’s done something not even his more celebrated 20-somethings Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy can claim – winning at TPC Sawgrass.
Unlike Spieth and McIlroy, though, Kim must one day put his golf career on hold to fulfill the mandatory military service for his country. Considering how he played this week, how bright his future is now, it will be a shame to see him go.
Hopefully it won’t happen soon. Plenty of opportunities – big opportunities – await, including the Presidents Cup later this year. The International Team has a new star to lean on.
“He’s still young and he was just so calm today,” said the South African Oosthuizen, an International fixture. “He’s going to be great to have as a teammate.”
Having just spent 18 holes with the young man, it’s evident Oosthuizen would rather be playing with him than against him.
May 14, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
SEVEN. That’s the number of PGA TOUR wins by Portland Alums since the 2016 tournament concluded on August 28th. Just twelve events into the PGA TOUR season more than half of the trophies have been hoisted by players who teed it up here in Portland. Justin Thomas (Portland Class of 2014) and Cody Gribble (2016) both won before the month of October concluded. Since then Rod Pampling (2015) and Mackenzie Hughes (2016) have notched wins on the big stage. It is Thomas however who has been the toast of the PGA TOUR this season. After winning the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for the second consecutive year Thomas has set a torrid pace in 2017. In the first event of the calendar year Thomas cleared the field by three strokes at the SBS Tournament of Champions. For an encore he fired a round of 59 to open the Sony Open the very next week, becoming just the seventh player in PGA TOUR history to do so. There was no letup from there, Thomas went on to set the 72-hole scoring record on his way to his second consecutive win posting 27-under par 253 to run away with a seven shot victory.
The season is young and Portland Alums have dominated the headlines to this point, stay tuned as the next generation of golf continues to pile up the wins. With 15 PGA TOUR wins in less than three years it is clear that the path to the PGA TOUR runs through Portland.
(NORTH PLAINS, OR December 13, 2016) The WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz announced today that the event raised a record $1,250,000 for charity in 2016, growing the three year total to over $3.1 Million since the inaugural tournament in 2014.
“We are very proud that our event has now raised over $3 million for charity,” said Jeff Sanders, Tournament Executive Director at the events annual charity luncheon. “It’s a thrill for us to give back to these great charities and ensure that they continue their invaluable efforts for the Greater Portland community.”
A portion of the charity funds are generated through the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program in which non-profit organizations sell tournament tickets and receive 100% of the proceeds. In 2016 more than 160 charities from the greater Portland area registered to participate and sell tickets. Today the 30 highest selling organizations were on hand at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, where each was presented with their check.
The tournament estimates a local economic impact of about $6-8 million each year and over $20 million in total over the last three years as patrons travel from all over the Northwest and even across the country to attend. In 2016, there were more than 3.8 Million viewers of the Golf Channel live coverage which broadcasts all four rounds around the world.
“The rapid growth and results in just three years have been very exciting” said Pat McCabe, Tournament Director. “This tournament has a tremendously positive impact throughout Portland and the Northwest.” McCabe added, “We cannot thank WinCo Foods and our incredible Portland area sponsors enough for their support this year.”
The 2017 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz returns to Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club August 21-27, 2017. To be part of the excitement, visit our tickets page, and as always 100% of your ticket purchase goes to the charity of your choice!
(NORTH PLAINS, OR) For the third consecutive year, Pumpkin Ridge hosted the world’s best golfers as they played the four most important rounds of their season. As the Regular Season Finale, Portland is where players arrive hoping to punch their ticket to the PGA TOUR. Twenty events precede the WinCo Foods Portland Open; however it is here where anything can happen and always does. Take a look at some of the most fascinating story lines that played out in Portland this year.
Drive for Show, Putt for… a PGA TOUR Card… For Rick Lamb this was exactly the scenario that led to him receiving his PGA TOUR card. Lamb entered the week ranked 27th and needed a strong finish to jump into the coveted top 25. He responded to the pressure by firing a final round score of 68, including a birdie on the 18th hole to move him into the 24th position and flying home with a PGA TOUR card amongst his luggage.
The Waiting Game… Players on the course weren’t the only ones watching names ebb and flow in and out of The 25. Joel Dahmen, a native of Clarkston, WA entered the week ranked 22nd on the money list but missed the cut on Friday and was perhaps the most interested spectator come Sunday afternoon. There was a point when his name was in the dreaded 26th position however things fell in Dahmen’s favor as he finished squarely on the bubble landing 25th on Sunday and leaving Portland with his TOUR card.
A 68 a Day Keeps a PGA TOUR Card in Play… Mark Anderson, whose wife was due with their child any day heading into the weekend certainly had plenty on his mind as play began. Anderson entered the weekend in need of two stellar rounds to have a chance at his PGA TOUR card. Anderson shot scores of 68 on both Saturday and Sunday to jump from 51st to 16th on the money list and cap a whirlwind weekend with his PGA TOUR Card.
Sunday Belongs to Sparty… Solid from start to finish, our champion and former Michigan State golf coach Ryan Brehm charged out of the gates on Thursday with a round of 63 and he never looked back. Brehm calmly picked apart the challenging Witch Hollow layout on Sunday and stood on the 18th tee with a two shot lead. Twenty minutes later he was holding the trophy and had locked up his spot on the PGA TOUR next season.
(NORTH PLAINS, OR) Each year 25 players leave Pumpkin Ridge with their PGA TOUR Card for the upcoming season and inevitably some of those players find their way to stardom. Names from past years include Justin Thomas (Portland Class of ’14, 2016 CIMB Classic Champion), Smylie Kaufman (Class of ’15, 2016 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Champion), and Daniel Berger (Class of ’14, 2015 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year & 2016 FedEx St. Jude Classic Champion). It’s only a matter of time before the stars of the Portland Class of ’16 emerge, here are a few names to keep an eye on this PGA TOUR Season.
Richy Werenski- Finishing 2nd on the Regular Season Money List, Werenski arrived in Portland with his place in Sunday’s 25 Card Ceremony assured. Not one to rest on his laurels Werenski surged to a strong T11 finish here in Portland. Winner of the Big Break Palm Beaches season, Werenski shines brightest when the spotlight is on him, and is off and running this season with a T35 finish in the PGA TOUR Season Opener the Safeway Open.
Cheng Tsung Pan- 2016 was a big year for the former University of Washington Husky. Pan represented Chinese Taipei in Rio before coming to Portland where he locked up his PGA TOUR Card after a T4 finish. Pan has all the makings of a star ranking inside the top 10 on the Web.com Tour in putting, scoring average, and all around driving.
Ollie Schniederjans- An outstanding amateur, Schniederjans held the title of #1 ranked amateur in the world for 41 weeks during his time at Georgia Tech. Furthering his credentials Ollie was a 3 time All American and 2 Time ACC Player of the Year. Entering the season Schniederjans had lofty expectations to live up to and did so by finishing 7th on the Money List and securing his PGA TOUR Card in Portland. Look for Ollie near the top of PGA TOUR leaderboards next season as he makes our list of players to watch from the Class of 2016.
Trey Mullinax- Another outstanding amateur player, Trey was part of the Alabama golf team that made history winning back to back National Championships in 2013 & 2014. Mullinax bruises his way around the golf course averaging 305 yards off the tee, an attribute that will suit him nicely on the PGA TOUR. A winner at the Rex Hospital Open, Trey found himself in the Top 10 on 3 other occasions throughout the season. Looking to join his former teammate and Portland alum Justin Thomas as one of the young stars of the PGA TOUR, look for Mullinax to do just that in 2017.
(NORTH PLAINS, OR July 26, 2016) With the third installment of the WinCo Foods Portland Open set to tee off in less than a month, tournament organizers are hard at work while also knowing that they will get to do so again in 2017.
The Web.com Tour event will return for a fourth year after agreements were finalized with WinCo Foods and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. This year’s tournament will be held at the Witch Hollow course Aug. 25-28, and the event will return to Pumpkin Ridge’s private side in 2017.
“There was some discussion about us playing Ghost Creek,” tournament executive director Jeff Sanders said, referring to the facility’s public 18. “But we’re actually going to continue to play, in our fourth year, Witch Hollow.”
Tournament organizers held a news conference at Pumpkin Ridge on Monday to publicize this year’s event and tout the accomplishments of the first two years. Chief among them was raising $1,875,000 for local charities, including $1,150,000 from the 2015 version, which event officials touted as the most ever contributed to charity by a golf tournament in the state of Oregon.
“WinCo has always prided itself in giving back to its community, and this WinCo Foods Portland Open has opened the door for us to do even more, which we really appreciate,” said Steven Goddard, president and CEO of WinCo Foods.
Sanders says golf fans in the Portland area have grasped that the Web.com Tour is no longer the developmental tour it was when it started as the Nike Tour in 1990 and golfers would spend a few years on it learning how to play professionally before graduating to the PGA Tour.
Instead, Sanders says, the Web.com Tour is a highly-competitive circuit with a deep pool of golfers who are PGA Tour caliber.
“It’s not minor league-major league anymore, it’s all an expansion of the PGA Tour brand,” Sanders said. “These guys are good enough to go out and win on the PGA Tour.”
Indeed, players who played in the first two Portland Opens have won 10 PGA Tour titles in the last two years.
Veteran touring pro Ryan Armour, 40, has played all over the globe, including the PGA Tour. He says he is most struck by the Web.com Tour’s depth.
“Having played pretty much everywhere in the last 18 years since I turned pro, it is harder to make a cut on the Web.com Tour than it is is Europe,” said Armour, who is No. 9 on the season money list. “Now, it may be harder to win in Europe, but it is harder to make a cut on the Web.com Tour. That’s how deep the field is.”
The Portland Open is the 21st tournament on the tour’s calendar, and the final event of the regular season. The top 25 on the money list at the end of play on Aug. 28 will receive PGA Tour cards for the 2016-17 season (under the PGA Tour’s “wrap-around” format, the new season starts in October), with a ceremony on the 18th green typically full of strong story lines and emotions.
The tournament also sets up the participants for the Web.Com Tour Finals, a four-tournament stretch that follows the Portland stop and through which an additional 25 PGA Tour cards are earned. The top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list at the end of the regular season are joined by the top 75 golfers from the PGA Tour who did not make the FedExCup playoffs.
The PGA Tour has eliminated its qualifying tournament, instead issuing cards through the Web.Com Tour, giving the circuit far greater weight than it used to have in its developmental tour years.
Because the Portland Open is in such a crucial spot on the calendar, it does not have some of the opportunities that other Web.com tournaments offer, such as spots in the field for locally-connected golfers through sponsor’s exemptions and Monday qualifying. The Portland field is limited to the top 156 golfers in the money list.
That why, for example, Lagardere Sports, the company that runs the event through its golf event arm in Beaverton, cannot give a sponsor’s exemption to Aaron Wise, the NCAA champion from the University of Oregon who has turned professional and is competing on the Mackenzie Tour (also known as PGA Tour Canada), where he tied for 10th in his first two starts. Lagardere signed Wise to the management and marketing deal, making him an obvious choice for a sponsor’s exemption, if one was available.
The tournament should still have local connections in the field. Jesuit High School graduate Scott Harrington will play in it for the third year, and at 49th on the money list, is in position to advance to the Finals for the first time.
Also, former Oregon State standout Diego Velazquez is 108th on the money list, and Ashland High graduate Jason Allred, hoping to return to the PGA Tour for a third time, is 147th.
Sanders figures it will take about $150,000 to finish in the top 25 on the money list, and the winner in Portland will earn $144,000.
— Mike Tokito, Oregonian