Colbert Hills to host pro tournament

Tuesdays’ Pro-Am to benefit local organizations, charities

By Joel Jellison

It’s been 12 years since Colbert Hills Golf Course opened in Manhattan, and this week the course will reach a milestone when it hosts its first ever professional tournament.

Thanks to a collaborative effort from the Kansas State University Golf Course Management and Research Foundation and the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series will come to town this week for the Colbert Charity Classic beginning on Wednesday and running through Saturday.

Along with the tournament, the course will be hosting a Pro-Am tournament on Tuesday, allowing groups of three to pay to play alongside a number of the professional players who will take part in the four-day tournament.

Tournament director Bernie Haney said the Pro-Am is the primary way the event helps raise money for 11 different local organizations.

“The Pro-Am is how we raise money for our tournament beneficiars, basically, so it’s people who have paid to play, an entry is like $1,000 for three people, and they pair up with a golf professional,” he said. “They play a tournament and we give out prizes, and that’s really how we pay for the event.”

In the last two weeks, Haney said they sought a number of additional volunteers to help coordinate the Pro-Am on Tuesday, and he said the response was extremely positive.

“It’s been tremendous, the Manhattan community has stepped up once again with open arms to help and we have more than 80 volunteers to help us,” he said. “It’s been great with all the volunteers.”

Haney said to get the Adams tour to come to Manhattan, the Kansas State Golf Foundation, which owns Colbert Hills, had to gets its board to approve a tournament. They then teamed with the MVCB to seek a tournament series, and Haney said it took that group effort to find the Adams tour.

He said it couldn’t have been a better fit for both sides.

“The great thing about the Adams tour is they partner with non-profits, and help the community, and when we met with them they were the perfect fit to partner with,” he said. “They were open arms and looking to add people that were interested.”

The Adams tour already hosts a tournament in Garden City and Haney said most of their other tournaments are run south of Kansas. The presenting sponsors of this tournament are Grand Mere Development and Little Apple Toyota/Honda.

Haney estimated 75 to 80 players would be registered for the tournament, playing for the first-place prize of $20,000. Haney said Adams tour representatives did a site visit to the course and made the decision to make $20,000 the guaranteed first-place amount.

He said the types of players that play in this event are a few steps below the PGA Tour for the most part, and many will be looking to qualify in next week’s Nationwide Tour event in Wichita.

“Some of them, if they are playing well, can certainly live off golf, but they are honing their skills and hoping for that opportunity to get on the Nationwide Tour and eventually the PGA Tour,” Haney said. “These guys are definitely honing their skills to get to that next level.”

The tournament is free to the public and the course will have bleachers set up on the holes 1, 9 and 18, as well as a set on the driving range. Tee times off 1 and 10 will be at 8 a.m. each day. Friday the tournament will host a junior clinic at 4 p.m. There will be an awards presentation at the tournament’s conclusion on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The event format will be 72 holes of stroke play. The field will be cut to the top 40 percent of the starting field after 36 holes. Any participant shooting 86 or higher during the first round will take an automatic cut from the field.

The Adams tour listed the estimated purse to be $100,000. Entry fees for amateurs was $425, tour members paid $995 and non-members paid $1,195.

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