Mylan Classic: Changes will lure bright young golfers

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The Mylan Classic will return to Southpointe Golf Club for the fourth year in a row, but fans won't have to wait quite as long -- it's nearly a month earlier than usual.

But the earlier date -- events begin July 29 and the first round is Aug. 1 -- is only one of several changes to the Mylan Classic, which is a big reason the marketing campaign for the event is "New date. New Format. New Era."

Another big change is in the eligibility requirements and who will receive invitations to play.

The field will include 144 players and will be filled out the following way:

The top 25 finishers from the Albertsons Boise Open, the event that precedes the Mylan Classic, will receive invitations along with the top 60 players on the 2013 Web.com Tour money list and the players who finished from No. 26 to No. 60 on last year's money list.

If open spots remain, the next invitations will be handed out based on the Web.com tour money list, beginning with player no. 61 and continuing down until the field is full.

Also, 12 spots will be reserved for the college player of the year, the U.S. Amateur champion and the NCAA champion as well as NCAA first-team All-Americans.

If those 12 amateur spots aren't all filled for whatever reason, invitations will go to certain second-team All-Americans, as well as members of the U.S. Walker Cup team and the NCAA Division II player of the year.

These invitations will give fans an opportunity to see some of the brightest young golfers compete. It's also a great opportunity for college players to get a jump on earning their PGA Tour card depending on how they finish and whether they are ready to turn pro.

From 2007 until last year, the college and amateur players spots were reserved for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, but that event is moving to the end of the tour calendar and will be one of four events used for the qualifying playoffs.

In fact, the qualifying playoffs -- which will be known as the Web.com Tour Finals and will replace qualifying school as a means for players to earn their PGA Tour cards -- are the reason the schedule has been juggled and why the Mylan Classic is being played in early August instead of late August or early September.

One such amateur qualifier, Ben Kohles, won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Event last summer to earn his Web.com Tour card for the rest of the year and a few weeks later came to the Mylan Classic, finishing in 5th place.

Two of the biggest names among the younger players on the PGA tour who played on the Web.com Tour thanks to this special invitation are Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

The field for the four-event Web.com finals will consist of the top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list and No. 126-200 in Fedex Cup points.

The top 25 finishers in the finals as well as the top 25 finishers on the Web.com Tour money list will receive their PGA Tour card for next year.

Along with the golf event, the Mylan Classic will feature the Pro-Am event, a women's clinic, a youth clinic and several concerts.

The total prize pool for the Mylan Classic is $675,000 and the winner will receive $170,000.

One player who had a great run at Mylan last year, Ed Loar (who slid late and finished 15th), is off to a hot start this year on the Web.com tour. He finished in the top 20 in three of his first four events, including a win at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

golf

Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com


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