The area’s oldest open championship, started in 1899, the PNC West Penn Open, will become a 54-hole competition in 2012, expanding from 36 holes. The change will be preceded by qualifying rounds and exemptions. The starting field at the Championship will be 78 players who will play 36 holes the first day, then followed by a cut for the final round. This change will result in the likelihood of a larger purse.
The revision was approved by the Association’s Championship Committee at its Fall meeting. The committee determined having a format similar to the West Penn Amateur would result in a more competitive championship, and that qualifying for most of the players is a better way to identify the starting field. Several Opens have produced overbooked fields with waiting lists. Every contestant who is not exempt will be accepted into a qualifying round. Details will be available on the entry form, to be ready in winter, 2012. Next year’s PNC West Penn Open is scheduled for Fox Chapel Golf Club.