Web.com Tour announces Suncoast Classic as newest addition to annual schedule
Lakewood National Golf Club to host the next wave of PGA TOUR stars beginning in 2019
June 04, 2018
By Web.com Tour staff
- June 04, 2018
- The Suncoast Classic will be contested at Lakewood National Golf Club just outside Sarasota, Florida. (Kelly Eddy/PGA TOUR)
SARASOTA, Fla. – The Web.com Tour announced today a new tournament set to debut on the annual schedule in 2019. The Suncoast Classic, which will be contested at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, will be held the week of February 11-17, with 144 players competing for a $550,000 purse. A five-year deal is in place through 2023.
The Suncoast Classic is the third new tournament announced by the Web.com Tour in the last 13 months, joining the Savannah Golf Championship and North Mississippi Classic.
The announcement was made on Monday afternoon at a press conference at The Powel Crosley Estate in nearby Sarasota, Florida, with Web.com Tour President Dan Glod, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director of Sports Sean Walter, Visit Sarasota County Director of Sports Shelby Connett, Suncoast Classic Tournament Director Justin Kristich and Lennar Homes Vice President of Sales Kyle Bernethy as the featured speakers.
“We are excited to bring the Suncoast Classic to Lakewood National as we continue to grow the Web.com Tour with new events in strong markets,” said Glod. “This community has demonstrated a great history of PGA TOUR support, and this new partnership will allow us to engage local businesses, fans and volunteers as we look to increase our charitable impact while delivering a tremendous week of tournament golf.”
The Florida Suncoast has hosted PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Web.com Tour events through the years, with the Valspar Championship currently held at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in nearby Tampa each March.
Developed by Lennar Homes, Lakewood National is a 2017 Arnold Palmer Design course featuring a layout unique to the western central Florida landscape that possesses a natural, rustic feel with a classic touch.
"It is such a privilege for us to host this caliber of a tournament right here in Lakewood Ranch, at Lakewood National Golf Club. We are confident the players and the fans will enjoy the experience,” said Kyle Bernethy, Vice President of Sales for Lennar Homes.
The tournament will be operated by Global Golf Management (GGM) and Sterling Sports Management (SSM), with Justin Kristich serving as Tournament Director. Most recently, Kristich was the Sponsorship Supervisor for the City of Clearwater, and prior to that was the Assistant General Manager for the Bradenton Marauders and Pittsburgh Pirates Florida Operations.
Founded in 1989, Chicago-based GGM has successfully staged more than 1,000 events on five continents, and currently provides consultation, management, and tournament operations service for over 40 professional golf events across the globe.
Beginning this month, Global Golf Management will deepen its core suite of offerings, with a completely enhanced set of sponsor-centric services via a strategic alliance with long-time partner Sterling Sports Management of Columbus, Ohio.
“It is a thrill to be able to launch the Suncoast Classic in the Bradenton/Sarasota area, an area that I’ve lived in for the past decade,” said Kristich. “I am looking forward to running a successful professional golf tournament that will benefit the area for many years.”
With 50 available PGA TOUR cards for the following season (since 2013), the Web.com Tour is the path to the PGA TOUR. Twenty-five TOUR cards are reserved for the leading money winners at the end of the 23-event Regular Season. Another 25 are up for grabs at the four-event Web.com Tour Finals that follow the Regular Season in August and September.
That formula has given way to immediate success for a number of graduates in recent years. During the PGA TOUR’s 2016-17 season, the Web.com Tour’s Class of 2016 featured nine graduates winning 10 times, including Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who became the first rookie in history to win the TOUR Championship. Thus far during the TOUR’s 2017-18 season, six players from the Class of 2017 have earned titles, including Ryan Armour, Austin Cook, Ted Potter, Brice Garnett, Andrew Landry and Aaron Wise. Wise’s victory at last month’s AT&T Byron Nelson was the 500th by a former Web.com Tour player – a list which includes 23 major championships and eight PLAYERS Championships.