KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After not playing last season due to COVID-19, the PGA’s Korn Ferry Tour is back in Kansas City. The AdventHealth Championship starts this week at the Blue Hills Country Club golf course.
On Wednesday, the practice green was filled with dozens of golfers looking to win the event, including some with local ties. One is even the defending champion.
Michael Gellerman, who grew up in Sterling, Kansas, won at Blue Hills in 2019 and earned his PGA Tour Card. He told FOX4 this annual Kansas City tournament is a welcome chance to spend time with family.
Now he’s aiming for a repeat championship.
“I struggled for a while, but I’ve been playing better and I’m excited to be here at a place where I’ve had some good memories,” Gellerman said.
Other local golfers are getting a shot to compete this weekend, including Shawnee Mission East alumnus Andy Spencer, who played Blue Hills multiple times when he was in high school.
“I know I can play out here, just a matter of going out and executing the shots on the golf course,” he said. “It’s what you work for, what you grind for all year, and you try to show up and play the best you can.”
Then there’s Chris Thompson, a former University of Kansas golfer from Independence, Kansas. He grinded for nearly two decades before finally earning his PGA Tour Card, but he only lasted on the tour for one year.
Now he’s back to competing with players in the Korn Ferry Tour before taking his spot as head golf pro at the Lawrence Country Club. He’s happy that this weekend he’ll be able to get those competitive juices flowing again.
“You get used to it. You get used to that adrenaline,” he said. “So I’m going to go out here and play as hard as I can for hopefully four days, and we’ll see what happens.”
Thompson offered this advice for any players who are trying to earn their way to the PGA Tour:
“Don’t get out here and change who you are, change how you practice or how you play. Do what you do. Do as good as you can do it. Believe in yourself.”
The four-day tournament begins Thursday.