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Albertsons Boise Open Coming Early to Hillcrest

by Rob Lundgren

One of the most popular tournaments of the Tour made a big move for the 2013 season.

Boise Open tournament director David Babcock

The Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft has been a mainstay on the developmental tour since its Ben Hogan Tour days back in 1990. But in order to accommodate a new format adopted by both the Tour and the PGA Tour, the Boise tournament will now be held July 25-28 at Hillcrest Country Club instead of their usual late September dates.

Tournament director David Babcock believes the move from September to July will make the tournament even more competitive. “Now there are only four tournaments after the Boise Open before the final four events,” he said. “I also think the difference between the PGA Tour and the Tour is in fractions. The is an expansion of the PGA Tour. It’s not a farm league.”

Starting this fall, the Tour will hold season-ending tournaments called the Tour Finals. A total of 150 players will be eligible to compete in the Finals – the top 75 on the Tour regular-season money list, plus the players finishing between 126 and 200 on the FedEx Cup points list.

For years the Boise Open has been both a fan and player favorite and Babcock sees no changes there. “Players love this place,” he said. “It’s like the Rose Bowl to them.” As usual, Boise will have one of the biggest purses on the Tour with the winner pocketing over $139,000.

Tournament officials have been busy preparing for the hot July weather when temperatures often top 100 degrees in the Boise Valley. “The heat is the primary concern,” Babcock admitted. “That’s why we’ll have cooling stations with misters and fans. And lots of water. We’ve taken every precaution.”

Despite its relative short length by typical tour standards (6,810 yards), Babcock expects Hillcrest, one of Idaho’s oldest courses, to be up for the challenge. “The greens are the biggest defense this golf course has,” he said. “It’ll be a true test as always. The course will be in fantastic shape.”