'There's not any pressure on me. I've got next year wrapped up,' said Flanagan, who will make his first PGA TOUR start at the Turning Stone Resort Championship beginning Thursday.
Flanagan, who won the U.S. Amateur at Oakmont four years ago, earned a promotion to pro golf's top level by winning the Nationwide Tour's Xerox Classic in nearby Rochester last month, his third victory on the developmental tour. His PGA TOUR status for 2008 will fall behind those who finish in the top 125 on the PGA TOUR money list.
'I'd love to get in contention for at least one of the events (on the fall schedule), doesn't matter which one it is, and hopefully just see how I play under that kind of pressure,' he said. 'It's just a matter of learning how here in these seven events and taking that to next year.'
The Turning Stone Resort Championship, which kicks off the new PGA TOUR Fall Series, has a purse of $6 million, the largest of the seven events on the fall slate. Which means it could have a bigger impact on the final list of money leaders.
The top 125 players retain fully exempt status to play on Tour in 2008, and the Fall Series determines Nos. 31 through 125. (The top 30 were already decided through the FedExCup playoffs.)
Steve Allan, with earnings of $568,059, has the precarious perch of No. 125 heading into the first round at the acclaimed Atunyote Golf Club course, a Tom Fazio design that opened in 2004. And of the four players directly ahead of him and the 15 right behind, only one -- Jason Bohn at No. 129 with earnings of $527,512 -- won't be playing.
Among those missing for this new PGA event are the game's top two players -- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who are preparing for the Presidents Cup next week in Montreal.
But seven players who have won on tour this year -- Fred Funk, rookie Brandt Snedeker, Brian Bateman, Woody Austin, Brian Bateman, Joe Ogilvie, and Nick Watney -- are in the field, as are former major winners John Daly, Todd Hamilton, Lee Janzen, and Justin Leonard.
Turning Stone Resort, operated by the Oneida Indian Nation, was chosen to host the event because of the venue's quality and how it performed as the last-minute substitute host for the final B.C. Open last summer. Flooding forced the PGA to change the venue for the 2006 B.C. Open from En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott just two weeks before it was scheduled.
The B.C. Open was scheduled opposite the British Open for several years, which meant the field rarely had any top players.
John Rollins, who won the final B.C. Open by one shot over Bob May, knows a repeat victory at Atunyote will be much more difficult, and not only because of the stronger field. The course has been lengthened 167 yards to 7,482, and the rough is higher.
'This field's obviously better,' Rollins said. 'This year, I think a lot of the players have heard so many good things from last year that it's generated a good feel. The purse helps. A $6 million purse is big. You tack another million dollars on top of what you've already got, it goes from being a really good year to all of a sudden a great year.'