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Professional golf returning to Peek’n Peak Resort in 2016

August 6, 2015
By Matt Spielman , Westfield Republican

CLYMER - For the past couple of years, the Web.com Tour has been branding itself as "The Path to the PGA Tour."

Now, for at least the next four years, that path will run directly through the 7,058-yard Upper Course at Peek'n Peak Resort.

On Thursday, PGA Tour and Web.com Tour officials joined together with dignitaries from title sponsor LECOM Health and the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation, which will host the tournament, to announce that the Web.com Tour would return to the Clymer destination for a four-day tournament July 7-10, 2016.

Article Photos

Bill Calfee, Web.com Tour president, speaks at a news conference Tuesday announcing the LECOM Health Challenge will take place at Peek’n Peak Resort on July 7-10, 2016.

"It's great to be back here at Peek'n Peak. Talking to players, we have had so many positive comments from players who were here," said Bill Calfee, president of the Web.com Tour. "We've got a contract for four years, but we are into long-term partnerships and we expect to be here for 25 years. We have four events on our tour that have been with us now in a 26th year and events that are giving upward of $1 million to charities."

The tournament will take the tour schedule slot currently held by the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco at Hillcrest Country Club in Boise, Idaho. The LECOM Health Challenge will be broadcast on the Golf Channel across the United States with a cut after the first two rounds that will keep the top 65 players, plus ties. The Boise tournament will still be held later in September.

"This is far from minor leagues. These guys have game. They are ready to go," Calfee said. "Every year guys are out there in their first year (on the PGA Tour) winning tournaments. Any given week there are guys playing on the PGA Tour one week and coming over here another week."

The LECOM Health Challenge purse will be $600,000 with $108,000 going to the winner.

"All of the 50 cards to get on the PGA Tour you really have to come through the Web.com Tour. So now this is the path to the PGA Tour. Twenty-five cards are given based on your regular-season play - this is going to be an important part of that process - and we have four events at the end of the year where we bring PGA Tour and Web.com Tour players together to give out another 25 cards based on your playing the final four events," Calfee said. "There are a lot of great young players you are going to see and a lot of recognizable names that are former major champions and tournament winners on the PGA Tour.

"This is PGA Tour golf. We are certainly excited to be here."

Peek'n Peak was a regular stop on the tour from 2002-07, when it was known as the Buy.com and later Nationwide Tour, but as the resort's previous owners went through bankruptcy proceedings and sponsorship money dried up, the tour was forced to leave. Scott Enterprises purchased the facilities and Nick Scott Sr. made it one of his goals to bring PGA Tour golf back to the John Exley-designed par-72 layout.

"Since we purchased the Peak in 2011, we realized that before we could bring the PGA back to the Peak we had a lot of work to do. The golf course needed a lot of work - they had stopped fertilizing it," said Scott, president and owner of Scott Enterprises. "It's a real honor that the PGA had that much confidence in our resort, our company and the golf course. That was an impressive thing for us and we are embracing it."

The first time around, PGA professionals such as two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, recent British Open champion Zach Johnson, last week's Canadian Open winner Jason Day, and past FedEx Cup champions Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas took part in what was then the Lake Erie Charity Classic and later the Peek'n Peak Classic.

"I know you will host and put on a great event," Johnson said Tuesday in a promotional video played during the news conference. "I remember it back in 2003. It's a great area and a fun vacation spot.

"I think the biggest memory I have from Peek'n Peak is being at the resort," Day added in his own comments during the video. "First and foremost it is a great golf course, very quiet. I came back from a Japanese trip with my buddy. I felt so refreshed. I went there and played well. From that moment on it gave me confidence to go on and play better. Not too long after that I won."

Winners on the Buy.com and Nationwide Tour stop at Peek'n Peak from 2002-07 included Patrick Moore, Guy Boros, Kevin Stadler, Esteban Toledo, John Merrick and Roland Thatcher.

"Many of us remember the exciting tournaments from past years. The Greater Erie Charity Classic brought pros like Lee Trevino, ChiChi Rodriguez, Fred Couples and even Arnold Palmer," said Tom Wedzik, LECOM Health board of trustees chairman. "At LECOM Health we make every effort to reach out into our community to promote healthy lifestyles that lead to longer and more enjoyable lives. Sports and fitness are a big part of maintaining wellness."

Since the tour's inception in 1990, it has graduated 356 golfers to the PGA Tour with alumni winning 414 titles, including 20 majors and five Players Championships. This year's schedule features 25 events in 14 states and six countries outside the United States. Prize money this year will total $17,850,000 with an average purse of $714,000.

"(Nick Scott Sr.) knows how to help people punch their fun tickets. I have a feeling that next July 4-10, not only will there be some good golf, but there could be some great fun tickets to be punched here," said Ric Clarson, PGA Tour senior vice president of market development. "When he came down (to Florida), he had a gleam in his eye about bringing the PGA Tour back to Peek'n Peak Resort and this community."

 
 
 

 

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