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LOCALS FROM PGA TOUR WILL PLAY IN PROVO SKINS GAME

SHARE LOCALS FROM PGA TOUR WILL PLAY IN PROVO SKINS GAME

Many local folks love to follow the exploits of Utah golfers on the PGA Tour every year.

Tomorrow, golf fans can literally follow their Utah heroes on the golf course rather than in the agate type of the newspaper.Four golfers who make their homes in Utah - Orem's Keith Clearwater, Provo's Mike Reid and Dan Forsman and St. George's Jay Don Blake - will be at East Bay Golf Course Monday competing in the Greater Provo Open Skins Game, worth $25,000.

The golfers will play a 9-hole Skins Game patterned after those seen on TV and on the Senior Tour. The player with the lowest score on the hole will get the "skin" and if no one wins outright, the money carries over and the amount increases. One pro could win all $25,000 or it may be split up among the four.

The Skins Game starts at 10:30 a.m. following a clinic at 9 a.m. The cost is $5 and free for those under 17.

The 54-hole tournament proper begins Friday and runs through Sunday with $4,000 going to the winner. Bruce Summerhays is the defending champion.

Also on the agenda this week is a ladies tournament on Tuesday and a Sponsor/Celebrity Tournament on Wednesday. Proceeds go to Care For Kids Foundation.

HEAD TO HEAD: There are hundreds of golf tournaments in Utah every summer but only a handful that are considered "biggies" with media coverage and large purses.

Unfortunately two of those tournaments just happen to be scheduled the same time - next weekend.

While the Greater Provo Open is played Friday through Sunday, one of the state's major amateur events, the Salt Lake City Amateur, will be played at Bonneville Golf Course Saturday and Sunday.

You'd think that the two events would cut down the amateur entries for each tournament, but that hasn't been the case.

Bonneville pro Dick Kramer said he opened entries two weeks ago and by the end of that week, the tournament was filled.

"We have 210 players and 50 people on the waiting list," said Kramer. "The Provo Open didn't harm us at all."

But the City Am didn't hurt the Provo Open either. East Bay assistant pro Craig Playson reports that the amateur field of 105 has already been filled, while the professional field of 60 is just a few pros short of filling.

In fact the City Amateur filled up so fast that several top amateurs, including four-time champion Todd Barker, won't be playing and will opt for Provo. That is, if they signed up in time.

STATE AM ON TAP: The Men's State Amateur begins next week with a record number of entries.

Five qualifying tournaments will be played over a two-week period beginning Wednesday and approximately 150 golfers will advance to the State Am finals July 6-10 at Ogden Country Club.

UGA executive director Joe Watts reports that 640 entries were received this year, breaking the old mark of 600 set three years ago.

Watts sees several reasons for the increase in entries this year beginning with the locations of the qualifying sites as well as the finals.

"A lot of golfers want to play Ogden Country Club, a course they haven't had a chance to play before," said Watts. "We also have great courses for all of the qualifying tournaments."

The State Am qualifying gets under way Wednesday at Hobble Creek Golf Course in Springville. The North qualifying will be Friday at Hill AFB. Then the following week State Am qualifying tournaments will be played at Wingpointe June 6, Wasatch Mountain on Wednesday and Sunbrook in St. George on Friday.

Watts also sees the great spring weather as helping, because more golfers feel confident in their games at an earlier stage than most years.