Former Central High School standout Kevin Kring now has another chance to compete in the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.
The tournament announced its four exemptions on Monday, exactly a month before the PGA’s Web.com Tour fans out across Highland Springs Country Club for its 26th annual event.
Kring, who won a Missouri high school state championship in 2008, and Adam Svensson received non-restricted exemptions, while Linus Gillgren and Tyler Weworski have been awarded restricted exemptions. Gillgren earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour in December by completing Q-school — days after his mother passed away in Sweden.
Unrestricted exemptions are available to all players, including amateurs who have a USGA handicap of zero or less, according to the PGA Tour office. Effectively restricted exemptions are limited to Web.com Tour and PGA Tour players who are not otherwise exempt for the Price Cutter tournament.
“I’m hoping I can put on a good show for the Ozarks,” said Kring, who played in the 2012 PCCC after earning his way through a Monday qualifier. He was one stroke short of qualifying a year ago. “I’ve had so much support since high school, and it’s nice that people still stick by me, so hopefully I can go out and do something for the whole town.”
Kring graduated from Central High School in 2008. He was all-state all four years there, placing second in state as a freshman and again as a junior. He went on to play for, and graduate from, the University of Colorado before turning pro in 2012.
He has been readying all summer by chasing Web.com Tour Monday qualifiers and honing his skills at Highland Springs, the course that he calls home. He’s particularly worked to improve his short game.
Should Kring or any other golfer finish in the Top 25 of the Price Cutter event, it means an automatic qualifier for the following week’s Web.com Tour stop. Since turning pro, he’s chased his dream by staying in affordable hotels and cutting costs at every turn. In other words, he’s lived the life sort of like a minor league baseball player.
“I can’t express how much of an opportunity this is,” Kring said, and later explained why. “I want to have a career instead of trying to capture lightning in a bottle. I want to hit the ground running, given this opportunity.”
Monday’s announcement comes as the calendar races toward the PCCC and its related events. A number of spots remain open for pro-ams, including the Betty and Bobby Allison’s Junior Pro-Am on Aug. 6 at Rivercut Golf Course and the Price Cutter Pro-Am on Aug. 12 at Highland Springs. Sponsorship opportunities also remain available by calling 887-3400.
Svensson, 21, turned pro this year after playing at Barry University. The Canadian has placed second twice on the PGA Tour Canada this year, earning $24,617.
Svensson has played in three Web.com Tour events, placing in the top 25 twice – in the Rust-Oleum Championship on July 14 (11-under par); and in the Nova Scotia Open on July 5 (8-under par). He has earned $19,564.
Gillgren, a Sweden native who played at Arkansas-Little Rock, turned pro in 2011 and has played in four Web.com Tour events since. Gillgren played in two PGA Tour LatinoAmerica events this year, earning $15,444 thanks to a pair of top two finishes. A year ago, he competed in 10 PGA Tour Canada events, earning one top 10 finish.
However, it’s been an emotional time for Gillgren, whose mother, Barbro, passed away due to complications from skin cancer. He was actually on the 16th hole at PGA National’s Champions Course in mid-December – and competing in the Web.com Tour Q-school — when the call came in.
Nevertheless, the family pushed the funeral back to Dec. 29, and Gillgren managed to reach the Final Stage of Q-school. Two years earlier, he had put his career on hold after his father suffered from a heart attack, leading Gillgren to handle the family business – a bakery and coffee shop – for nine months.
“I know that’s exactly what she would have wanted,” Gillgren told PGA Tour.com. “She almost tricked all of us; I had no clue that she was going to pass away, and I wanted to be home. But I think she wanted to spare all of us. She was so happy that I made it through First Stage, so happy when I made it through Second Stage. My brother asked her Sunday night if she wanted me to come home, and she said no. It’s not even what she wanted.
“After she died, I talked to my brothers, and we all decided that I should play for Mom.”
Weworski, 25, turned pro in 2012 after playing at Texas Tech. The California native has not played in a Web.com Tour event this season, but has won $8,900 in playing seven events on the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica.
Weworski lost his Web.com Tour status after last season and turned to South America this year. It’s helped. He finished one and two strokes back in the past two Monday qualifiers, respectively.
“It means everything to me,” Weworski said of the exemption, later adding, “I’ve been putting in the time and just hoping for that breakout week.”
WANT TO WATCH?
What: The Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is Aug. 13-16 at Highland Springs Country Club
Tickets: A one-day ticket: $10. A four-day TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket: $25. (Purchase through one of the 45 charities, and the charity of your choice will receive the full $25. It’s also good for daily prizes as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2015 Ford Mustang). Call the PCCC staff at 417-887-3400, and here is a list of our charities.
FREE ADMISSION: The tournament will offer free admission on the first two days — Thursday, Aug. 13 courtesy of Southwest Center for Independent Living and Friday, Aug. 14 courtesy of OakStar Bank. The tickets are available at Southwest Center for Independent Living, 2864 S. Nettleton Ave. in Springfield and OakStar Bank, 1020 E. Battlefield Road. Tickets also are available at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame at 3861 E. Stan Musial Drive as well as all Price Cutter Supermarkets.
SPONSORSHIPS: The tournament generated a record $1 million-plus for local children’s charities a year ago. We still have numerous sponsorships and playing spots in our pro-ams available. Call 417-887-3400.