Some of up and coming players in the world of professional golf will be making a stop in Maine over the next five summers.
The Korn Ferry Tour, the PGA’s circuit for top golf prospects, on Wednesday announced it will hold one of its events at Falmouth Country Club in Portland through 2024.
The Korn Ferry Tour announced a partnership with Shamrock Sports & Entertainment that will hold The Live + Work in Maine Open June 8-14, 2020. The event will include 156 players competing for a $600,000 purse.
“Portland is truly a remarkable locale for professional golf, and we are eager to bring the Live + Work in Maine Open to this community,” said Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin, who attended Bates College in Lewiston. “We have vibrant partners with great track records of building spectacular events and awareness for Maine, and we are confident that the golf fans throughout this region will enjoy watching the future stars of the PGA Tour.”
The tournament will be managed by Portland-based Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, which provides consulting, marketing and sales support to drive value to sponsors and fans alike.
“Having an event of this magnitude is great for the state and great for the sport,” Bangor Municipal Golf Course pro Rob Jarvis said. “It’s going to be fun for the spectators. I hope the whole community comes out and checks these guys out.”
Shamrock helped bring the America East Conference women’s basketball championship to the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland in 2017 and 2018.
“We are confident the Live + Work in Maine Open will bring the contagious excitement of Korn Ferry Tour golf and related festivities to fans of all ages,” Shamrock CEO Brian Corcoran said.
A consortium of Maine employers is supporting the event under the umbrella brand of Live + Work in Maine. They will coordinate activities around the event to teach about opportunities to live and work in Maine full time, and engage with employers such as Maine Health and MEMIC.
“Live and Work in Maine’s mission is to market Maine as a career destination, and we are pleased to be given the opportunity to be involved with a professional sports event that highlights the quality of life here in Maine,” said Ed McKersie, Chairman of the Board of Advisors at Live + Work in Maine.
Founded and built in 1988, Falmouth Country Club’s Brian Silva design has earned a reputation as one of Maine’s premier competitive venues. Maine resident and CBS Sports commentator Peter Kostis has been associated with Falmouth Country Club since its inception, hosting the “Pepsi Skins Challenge” alongside names like Tom Kite, Davis Love III and Mark Calcavecchia.
The course has hosted the New England Amateur, Maine Amateur and Tri-State Amateur, along with several other professional and amateur events.
Jarvis pointed out that not only will the fans get to see young up-and-coming players, they will also see former PGA Tour players and Major champions who are trying to regain a PGA Tour card.
“It’s exciting. I’m going to try to catch a round,” Penobscot Valley Country Club pro Mark Hall said. “Since I’ve played the course before, it’ll be interesting to see how they play it. That will make it more fun.”
Jarvis expect the course will be modified to make it more difficult for the pros. Hall said the course is already challenging.
“It has a lot of high risk, high reward holes,” Hall said.
The Korn Ferry Tour was founded in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour, with a four-year stint at nearby Woodlands Country Club as the Tour held the New England Classic through 1993. With 50 available PGA Tour cards for the following season (since 2013), the tour is the path to golf’s top circuit.
Five players from the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour have won PGA tournaments this season. They include Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms Championship), Adam Long (The Desert Classic), Martin Trainer (Puerto Rico Open), Max Homa (Wells Fargo Championship) and Dylan Frittelli (John Deere Classic).
Other notable PGA Tour players who got their start on the Korn Ferry Tour include major champions Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson.
BDN Reporter Larry Mahoney contributed to this report.