Week 18 Approach Shots: Wichita Open

August 05, 2009

In 2008, Scott Piercy took control of the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open at the midway point and held on for the win. The tournament will be played for the 20th time this week and is one of the four original host cities that remains on the Nationwide Tour's schedule.

Quick Facts
WHAT: 18th of 29 Nationwide Tour events
WHEN: Aug. 6-9
WHERE: Wichita, Kan.
COURSE: Crestview Country Club
WHAT'S AT STAKE: $550,000 purse ($99,500 for winner)
KEY LINKS: Tee times | Leaderboard Tournament page | "THE 25"

Its first champion, Tom Lehman, is serving as honorary chairman for Wichita's 20th event. Lehman's 1990 win at Reflection Ridge Golf Club provided much of the confidence that catapulted him to 1991 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year honors.

CLOSE FINISHES: There have been four playoffs in the 19-year history of the tournament, with the first coming in 1992, when Jeff Woodland beat Bob May in a six-hole extra session. Three years later, David Toms outlasted E.J. Pfister on the second playoff hole. Ben Bates defeated Jeff Brehaut and Carl Paulson in 1997 by making birdie on the first extra hole, and Bradley Hughes edged Erik Compton, Hunter Haas and Scott Harrington in 2004, also in a one-hole playoff. The last playoff came in 2005, when one extra hole is all it took for Joe Daley to beat Shane Bertsch.

ALMOST A WINNER: Twice in history, Hunter Haas has come excruciatingly close to winning the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open. In 2004, Haas lost to Bradley Hughes in a four-man playoff. A year ago, Haas was in the hunt again only to fall two strokes shy of Scott Piercy. In 18 rounds at Crestview Country Club, Haas has shot under par 15 times. He has career earnings of $89,595 in Wichita. The current course record is 61 set by Gavin Coles in 2006. Scott Piercy set the 72-hole record last year with a 22-under 262 during his victory. Carl Paulson is also a two-time runner-up at this event (1997 and 1998).

KLAUK IN KANSAS: In 2002, Jeff Klauk fell a stroke shy of winner Tyler Williamson. Klauk came back the following year, though, and held off Mike Brisky and Mark Hensby to win by a stroke. He is the only player in history to record both a win and a runner-up finish in Wichita.

RECORD ROUNDS: The current course record is 61 set by Gavin Coles in 2006. Scott Piercy set the 72-hole record last year with a 22-under 262 during his victory.

COLUMBUS WINNER LAMELY ENTERS "25" PICTURE: Sunday's win by 29-year-old Derek Lamely moved him from obscurity into serious contention for a 2010 PGA TOUR card.

The 2003 McNeese State graduate who grew up in Lake Conroe, Texas entered the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational 135th on the money list. By the time he shook hands with his playoff victim, Rickie Fowler, he had climbed all the way to 12th.

FOWLER INTENDS TO MAKE FIRST PRO STARTS AT BOISE AND SOBOBA: The USA's top-ranked amateur, Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif., plans to make his first starts as a professional on the Nationwide Tour. The Oklahoma State University star has accepted invitations to play in the 20th Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft (Sept. 17-20) in Idaho and the $1 million Soboba Classic (Oct. 1-4) near his hometown in Southern California.

Weather forecast for the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open
Temp: 97 high/75 low
Temp: 99 high/76 low
Partly sunny
Temp: 96 high/76 low
Temp: 94 high/76 low
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Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open snippets
LAMELY GETS HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME This is an example of moving up quickly. On July 1, Derek Lamely was 192nd on the money list. By Aug. 2, Lamely had jumped all the way 12th thanks to finishing T34, T19, and first in his last three starts.
AMATEUR HOURS When Rickie Fowler finished second last week at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, he continued a tradition of amateurs playing well in the event. Daniel Summerhays became the first and only amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour when he claimed the title here in 2007. He was followed by Top-10 efforts from Sihwan Kim (T6, 2008) and Fowler and Morgan Hoffman (T8) in 2009.

"I'm looking forward to starting off my pro career on the Nationwide Tour," he said on Sunday. The 20-year-old is scheduled to play in the U.S. Amateur Championship (Aug. 24-30) at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It is anticipated he will be named to next month's Walker Cup team at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia (Sept. 12-13).