Falmouth Country Club will become a stop on the Korn Ferry professional golf tour for five years starting in 2020.

The highest level of minor league professional golf will return to Maine for the first time in a quarter-century when Falmouth Country Club hosts the Live + Work in Maine Open next June.

The event is scheduled for June 8-14 as part of the Korn Ferry Tour, a developmental arm of the PGA Tour that is analogous to Triple-A baseball. A field of 156 up-and-coming golfers will compete for a $600,000 purse with first place worth $108,000.

A Monday qualifying round will allow 12 golfers into the field of 156, leading to a 72-hole event with a cut to the top 65 players plus ties after two rounds.

The Korn Ferry Tour president, Alexandra “Alex” Baldwin, announced the partnership Wednesday with the Portland-based Shamrock Sports & Entertainment to add the tournament to its schedule for five years through 2024.

“Portland is truly a remarkable locale for professional golf, and we are eager to bring the Live + Work in Maine Open to this community,” said Baldwin, a 1993 Bates College graduate. “We have vibrant partners with great track records of building spectacular events and awareness for Maine, and we are confident that the golf fans throughout this region will enjoy watching the future stars of the PGA Tour.”

Maine will be the only New England stop on the tour. The PGA Tour is scheduled to play in Massachusetts (Norton in mid-August) and Connecticut (Cromwell in late June).

From 1990-93, The Woodlands in Falmouth hosted the Ben Hogan New England Classic (titled in its final year as the Nike New England Classic) featuring pro golfers from a tour that changed names from Hogan to Nike to Buy.com to Nationwide to Web.com before settling in earlier this summer as Korn Ferry.

The Korn Ferry Tour, whose title sponsor is a global organizational consulting firm based in Los Angeles, wrapped up its 30th season Monday in Indiana by issuing PGA Tour cards to 50 players. Half qualified through a regular-season points list and the other half through a three-event finals.

All are eligible to take part in next week’s Greenbrier Classic PGA tournament in West Virginia.

“The Korn Ferry Tour has long been the path to the PGA Tour,” Baldwin said. “We are truly that proving ground for golf’s superstars of tomorrow.”

Notable Korn Ferry Tour alumni include Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson. Watson, from the Nationwide Tour Class of 2005, was featured in a life-sized poster at Wednesday’s announcement, held upstairs at Luke’s Lobster on the end of Portland Pier, overlooking Portland Harbor.

Shamrock CEO Brian Corcoran said he first explored the possibility of bringing professional golf back to Maine four years ago but the timing wasn’t right. In February, when Baldwin was named president of the Korn Ferry Tour by the PGA Tour president, Jay Monahan, things quickly fell into place.

Corcoran, Baldwin and Monahan worked together at Fenway Sports Management Group.

“Two conversations later, they had a full team flying to Portland,” Corcoran said, “from business (operations) meeting Alex and her team, all the way through to their agronomy team as we looked at three or four viable courses.”

Corcoran said the event will be set up as a nonprofit with a charitable component of at least $100,000. At least four Maine-based companies will serve as presenting partners, he said, and pegged the economic impact of the tournament at $6 million to $8 million annually.

A Korn Ferry Tour spokesman said their events had an average impact of $4 million to $6 million on host markets.

Falmouth Country Club, built in 1988, has hosted the New England Amateur, Maine Amateur and Tri-State Amateur along with a handful of professional events that included a “Pepsi Skins Challenge” featuring Tom Kite, Davis Love III and Mark Calcavecchia.

Live + Work in Maine is a 4-year-old organization marketing the state as a destination not simply to visit but to put down roots.

“The dynamic here in Maine for years has been, ‘Welcome to Vacationland, it’s Labor Day, time for you to go home,'” said Guy Langevin, an executive with Dead River Company who serves as chair of the State Workforce Board.

Langevin said companies in the state hope to shift that dynamic to a different message: “Welcome to Maine, where you can live, work and thrive in your career.”

Ed McKersie, founder of Live + Work in Maine, said his organization isn’t paying anything for attaching its name to the tournament, and the PGA Tour will subsidize much of the prize purse in the early years of the event.

In traditional bigger markets, my understanding is you have a title sponsor and you have these tiers,” McKersie said. “This is much more of a broader coalition of employers.”

Admission for Korn Ferry Tour events varies, Baldwin said, but all are free to kids as well as active and inactive members of the military. She said no decision has been made whether adult admission will be charged in Falmouth. The tour does not keep attendance at its events.

“It’s meant to be low-cost,” she said. “We want to make it as inclusive and as accessible as possible.”


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