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INSPIRED BY HIS FATHER’S RECOVERY, SCHUTTE’S GOLF RETURN IS A SUCCESS

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Just 12 days earlier, he was in a hospital after having a lung removed. Saturday afternoon, Tommy Schutte rode around in a golf cart, watching his son, Warren, grab the lead after two rounds of the University Hospital-Utah Open.

For Warren, it was inspiring to have his father out watching him play golf. Ever since his dad was diagnosed with cancer in July, Schutte hadn't played any tournament golf. With his father improving steadily, Schutte chose the Utah Open as his first tournament in nearly two months.While he hasn't been playing, Schutte has relied on the inspiration of fellow South Africans, Nick Price, Ernie Els and Simon Hobday, who have won four major golf tournaments this summer.

"It's helped me a lot," said Schutte. "To watch my friends do so well has given me a little incentive. To watch Nicky Price and Ernie win the last three majors has been unbelievable."

Schutte grew up playing with Els, who is two years older. Although Schutte beat him on occasion, he admits Els won most of the time.

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Last year, Schutte had the opportunity to play in the Masters as the reigning U.S. Publinks champion.

He got the chance to play with fellow South African Gary Player in a Monday practice round, then was asked by Jack Nicklaus to join him in a Tuesday practice round.

"I was already pretty nervous and then Jack said, `I found someone else to play with us.' It turned out to be Mr. (Arnold) Palmer. It was quite a memorable day," said Schutte.

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Mike Malaska is the sentimental favorite this week for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, this is the 20th anniversary of Malaska's Utah Open victory in 1974 when he won as a 20-year-old amateur.

For another, a lot of folks remember last year when he was in the lead on the final day when rain washed out the round and the tourney reverted back to Saturday, leaving Malaska in second.

Malaska has come all the way from Japan to play in his only tournament of the year and he put a fine 68 on the board Friday.

However he got off to a bad start Saturday with bogeys on the first two holes. Then at the par-5 10th hole, he hit his second shot into a pine tree. After looking up in the branches, along with several spectators for several minutes, a couple of balls were spotted, but no Titleist 4s. Malaska incurred a lost ball penalty (two strokes) and got a double-bogey on the hole.

That put him four over for the day, but Malaska rallied with birdies at 13, 17 and 18 to finish with a 73 and get back in contention.

OPEN NOTES: Three amateurs, Kevin Haslam, Joseph Summerhays and Goshi Hoshino, are tied as low amateurs at 145 . . . Ryan Rhees and Eric Rustand, teammates at BYU for a couple of years, are both in the top 10, but could be higher except for triple-bogeys. Rhees got his at the 6th hole Friday, while Rustand made his at the 16th hole Saturday . . . Schutte gave a clue why foreign golfers might be dominating right now. "Over here, everybody plays in their own age groups all the way up. In South Africa, I was playing senior amateur golf when I was 14 against guys in their 20s and 30s. You need to catch up a lot faster over there."