Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Branson's Top of the Rock to Host Champions Tour Again

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Branson's Top of the Rock to Host Champions Tour Again

Article excerpt

After a successful PGA Champions Tour tournament event in 2014, the Top of the Rock Golf Course in Ridgedale, Mo., will host the Champions Tour again April 24-26.

The tournament was mainly played on the par-3 Rock course, and it was the first time a par-3 course had been used in a PGA Tour- sanctioned event.

Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman combined to win the two-man team competition by shooting 6-under 48 in the rain. Sluman holed a 6- foot par putt for the victory on the final hole.

The duo beat Belleville native Jay Haas and partner Peter Jacobsen by a stroke. Overall the winners finished at 20-under 159.

Jim Colbert and Jim Thorpe won the Legends Division for players 65 and older, carding a 4-under 23 in better-ball play. Overall, Colbert and Thorpe were 11 under for 45 holes.

The Legends group played the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge course on Friday, the par-3 Rock course a Jack Nicklaus signature course twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. The 50-64 age group of the Champions Tour played 18 at Buffalo on Friday and played the Rock twice on Saturday and twice Sunday.

That will happen again this season.

Despite the rain in 2014, tournament director Kirk Elmquist said the first year of the tournament was a success. Nearly 14,000 tickets (13,997) were sold for the five days, and Elmquist is hoping to sell 20,000 this year.

"We can't control what comes out of the sky," Elmquist said.

This year's tournament, with a purse of $2.8 million sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge, will take place six weeks earlier with kids still in school and spring weather always a factor.

But, Elmquist noted, "It was a big attraction (last year). It all worked out nicely."

Elmquist said the PGA was attracted to Top of the Rock because of the uniqueness of the par-3 course.

According to the Rock's fact sheet, the course offers an unrivaled golf experience, from its cliff-top perch where fairways seemingly float into the sky to the rare trio of golf legends Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson who collectively designed it. …

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