FARGO-One record has already been set this week at the Bobcat North Dakota Open golf tournament-most former champions in one field.
That would be six with David Schultz, Andre Metzger, Patrick Stolpe, Ricky Hearden III, Tim Ailes and defending champion Hudson Carpenter slated to tee it up for the three-day event that starts Friday, Aug. 25, at the Fargo Country Club.
That list doesn't include PGA Tour player Tom Hoge, who returned to his hometown this week and is entered.
The most decorated player of the entire field, however, is probably a three-time European Tour winner from England who drove up from the Twin Cities on Thursday. Kenneth Ferrie doesn't play as much as he used to, but he still loves to compete in any tournament.
"Everytime I play golf at any level, there are still a little bit of nerves," he said. "And that's just wanting to play well and show people what I'm still capable of. I still get excited to get out and play. And when I do play, I don't take it for granted like I did."
A neck issue has limited the 38-year-old Ferrie from any kind of consistent tournament schedule. He was in the Twin Cities this week helping his friend, Ernie Rose, at his Ernie Rose Golf Academy in Bloomington.
"Just kind of hanging out, really," Ferrie said. "I've been doing some stuff with the kids and Ernie, giving a little different spin on life on the tour and professional life."
Ferrie's PGA Tour life in the United States took on a dramatic spin in the 2006 U.S. Open when he was tied with Phil Mickelson for the lead after three rounds. In essence, Ferrie had a front-row seat for one of the most notable finishes in Open history when Mickelson double bogeyed the final hole and lost by one shot to Geoff Ogilvy, who won it at 5-over-par.
Ferrie had a final-round 76 and finished in a tie for sixth at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
"It was interesting, it showed the best player in the world can have the same nerves a normal player goes through or a weekend golfer goes through," Ferrie said. "Everybody is capable of making those mistakes."
His last European title came in 2011 when he won the Austrian Golf Open. He said it's been more than two years since he's played at a top level.
"But my game is never far away," Ferrie said. "I've been playing pretty well the last couple of weeks."
Metzger has been playing well all summer-he's second on the Dakotas Tour money list at $49,245. Ailes is fourth at just over $26,000.
It's been a competitive Dakotas Tour, said Fargo Country Club head professional Mark Johnson, citing a conversation he had with Ailes on Thursday.
"He said the quality of the play on the tour has increased," Johnson said. "Why are guys getting better? He said there are fewer places for these guys to play. For the young professional that's coming up to try and learn to play professionally, there are fewer tours."
The leaders on Sunday are slated to tee off between 11:30 a.m. and noon. The tournament is free and open to the public. It's a milestone year of sorts for Bobcat, the longtime tourney sponsor. It went over $1 million in cumulative giving to the tourney charities with the main beneficiary The Village Family Service Center.