Countless hours of practice and hard work continues to pay off for Tanasi golf professional Casey Flenniken after he recently received a sponsor invitation to compete in the Professional Golf Association Korn Ferry Tour’s Visit Knoxville Open Thursday-Sunday at Holston Hills Country Club.
This will be the third time Flenniken has participated in the tournament.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to play in a Korn Ferry event and at Holston Hills, and this will be my third time so I’ll know what to expect now,” he said. “The first couple of times were a little bit of a shock with the mental and the physical battle of it because it’s a long week, but I have a lot of respect for those guys. I’ll basically be competing against the top 500 players in the world. You have the PGA Tour, the European Tour and then this is the next big thing. There’s guys that are on that tour that are going to be on the PGA one day, so it’s going to be a great test for me, my game and we’re very excited for the opportunity.”
Flenniken expects a large turnout from family, friends and Tellico Village residents.
Chris Sykes, Tellico Village director of golf, is excited to watch Flenniken play and believes he will represent the Village well.
“It’s super exciting and obviously it’s a PGA Tour event, so it’s just a tremendous opportunity,” Sykes said. “He’s earned his way in multiple times and getting a sponsor exemption helps matters, so he’s able to focus and get prepared for the event. You know he’s made the cut in the past, so he’s got the potential to go out there and actually make some noise and represent himself and Tellico Village in a big way. We’re all pulling for him and hoping that he plays well. He’s a phenomenal player and has been named the Tennessee PGA leader multiple times, so he’s one of the best playing PGA golf professionals in the state.”
Flenniken hopes to continue his hot streak after winning the gross division of the Club Car Pro-Official Championship last month.
When he’s not managing Tanasi Golf Course or giving numerous golf lessons throughout the week, Flenniken practices as often as he can.
He just completed his second season as the director of player development for the Tennessee Wesleyan University men’s and women’s golf teams.
“My oldest daughter is starting to want to play golf, so I’ll take her out there a little bit and hit golf balls while she’s hitting,” Flenniken said. “For this I’ll make time and will schedule a little bit more time than usual. On Mondays I try to play golf because that’s my off day, and then I’ll try to find a random day to sneak in extra range sessions. It’s hard because Tellico Village is such a busy place and it’s hard to find time to practice, but for this I’m definitely marking off a couple of extra time slots in order to get some reps in.”
Flenniken has been an asset for the golf department over the last five years, and competing at a high level in PGA tournaments only increases the value of the community’s most popular resource. He was recently named the Tennessee Section PGA Merchandiser of the Year for public golf courses and resorts.
Sykes believes Flenniken has the potential to win the tournament and put Tellico Village on the map in a major way.
“He does a phenomenal job with us, and Casey is the total package,” Sykes said. “He’s got a tremendous personality that everybody loves. He does a phenomenal job with his operation and is a tremendous merchandiser. His primary passion is on player development, so he spends a lot of time helping people get better at golf with clinics and lessons. He’s my daughter’s swing coach, so he’s got a great way about him and everybody loves him. He’s an easy guy to pull for and we’re super excited for him.”