Korn Ferry Tour golfers prepare for heat, record-breaking crowds ahead of Wichita Open

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Over half a million dollars are on the line starting Thursday at Crestview Country Club, the home of the Wichita Open – a 72-hole competition featuring 156 players from around the world.

A heat blast on the horizon won’t make things easy for the Korn Ferry Tour golfers, but according to the professionals – it’s nothing they can’t handle.

“It’s just hydration and then try to rest,” said golfer Scott Gutschewski. “It’s probably not very busy out here right now, just guys taking it easy, kind of trying to save up some energy, recuperate and rehydrate.”

“I think you just mentally realize that you’re going to be sweating nonstop for five to six days out here,” said golfer Tom Whitney. “It feels kind of dryer than normal, which is beneficial to us, and we also have some winds to keep us cooled off. I think it will be manageable.”

Wichita Open tournament director Roy Turner estimates a record-breaking 50,000 fans in attendance throughout the course of the event.

“It’s just so great to feel like we’re getting back to normal again, said Whitney. “Seeing the grandstands set up on [hole] 17 was a sight for sore eyes. Last year, playing that hole with no one cheering us on was kind of a bummer.”

The 17th green, the most famous feature for spectators due to its festive atmosphere, draws 3,000 to 4,000 spectators a day, according to the Wichita Open.

“What they’ve been doing the last few years here around 17 is a lot of fun. There’s always some people that go over the edge, but it’s all in good spirits,” said Gutschewski. “It’s a good one to have earplugs on.”

With the Korn Ferry Tour forming a combined 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics will be the 37th tournament (of 43) of the 2020-21 regular season. Tournament play will take place from June 16-20.

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