Steve Funk wants to see more golfers compete in the annual Pekin Men's City Golf Tournament, so the superintendent of golf for the Pekin Park District has made two major changes in the tournament format.
• Championship Flight will be the only flight with 32 players. All lower flights will have 16 instead of 32 players.
• The age limit to play has been lowered from 18 to 16.
As for the change to a 32-player Championship Flight only, "this has been suggested to us by players for several years so we're going to give it a go for a year and see what happens," Funk said.
It's hoped that having fewer golfers in the lower flights will make the flights more competitive and attract more players.
"It's no fun to play in the tournament and not have a prayer of winning your first match," Funk said.
The lowering of the age limit is another change recommended by players.
Gone are the days -- at least for now -- of having 150 to 160 players in the tournament. There were about 64 players last year, one of the smallest fields for a tournament that began in 1933.
Because of the change in the number of golfers in the lower flights, the winner of each of those flights will receive a $250 gift card good at the park district's two courses (Lick Creek and Parkview) instead of a 2018 season pass for both courses.
The runner-up in each lower flight will receive a $100 gift card.
The city champion -- winner of Championship Flight -- will receive a 2018 season pass to Lick Creek and Parkview and the runner-up will get a $150 gift card.
Bradley University standout Drake Bushong is the defending city champion.
Qualifying for the tournament began July 15 and will continue through Aug. 6.
Each player must play one round at Lick Creek and one round at Parkview to establish a qualifying score for match play. No refund will be given for failure to do that.
The last flight must contain 16 players, so some players could be cut and will receive a refund of the tournament entry fee.
Championship and A Flight matches will be played at Lick Creek; the others will be played at Parkview.
Match play dates are Aug. 12-13-18-19-20 for Championship Flight and Aug. 12-13-19-20 for the lower flights.
Entry fee the tournament is $25. Park district season golf passes will be honored for each round played; non-pass holders will be charged the weekday resident rate of $19 per round for Lick Creek and $17 per round for Parkview.
Park district residents and holders of a 2017 season pass for park district golf courses are eligible to compete in the tournament.
For information, call Lick Creek at 346-0077.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.