Jul. 22—Michael Monk called the annual Men's City Championship the "flagship tournament" held every year at Ratliff Ranch Golf Links.
The 29th edition of the tournament is set tee off Friday and for the first time, Monk will be overseeing the event as the head golf professional after starting in the position back in April.
As the first tee time draws closer, Monk says that he's looking forward to the level of competition the tournament draws every year.
"I'm just looking forward to a lot of golfers of all ages and skill levels coming out to the course to compete and put their skills to the test on a very good, tough and fair golf course," Monk said.
Monk was expecting anywhere between 80 and 90 players to sign up for the event.
Trying to gauge the number of entrants in the tournament was a little bit difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Monk added.
One of those golfers is defending champion Parker Beaty, who rallied to win the title for the second time thanks to a final round 69.
Beaty prevailed from a pack where the top eight players all finished within three shots of the lead.
Sebastian Cruz, Tyler Trotter and Jaden Chavez are also among the top local golfers expected in the field for this year's event.
"I'm expecting a very strong field ready to come out and test their skills," Monk said.
The field will be divided from the championship flight to the senior flight and super senior flights.
The rest of the flights will be split up following the conclusion of the second round Saturday.
As for how the course will be set up, Monk said that the most important thing is trying to find the right balance of presenting a challenge for the championship flight while also making it as fair as possible for everyone.
"For the most part, it's just continually pushing the golf course and continuing to make it better and better," he said. "I call it a growing grass and killing weeds kind of mentality. It's just a lot more of that."
He added that there was a sentimental feeling getting to host the tournament on a course that he remembered playing.
"This is my first year working here at Ratliff and I remember playing here back in the mid-80s and early 90s but it's not the same golf course," he said. "Our maintenance crew and Chase Thatcher in particular has done a fabulous job of maintaining the course and making it better year to year."
The weather will also play a key factor in how low the winning score will ultimately be.
When Micah Rodgers won back in 2017, a second-round 63 propelled him to victory at 14-under-par over the course of three days in calm conditions.
The 2020 edition of the tournament had a breezy final day and as a result, Beaty and Trotter were the only two golfers to finish under par for the tournament.
"If we get some calm days without wind, I think we'll end up with some pretty good numbers," Monk said. "If the wind blows sideways, we may not have the lower numbers.
"Suffice to say, we'll find out who can control their golf ball in the wind."