For the third time in four years, Dan Forsman emerged as the biggest winner in the Novell Provo Open Skins Game at East Bay Golf Course. But the lanky Provo resident almost seemed a little embarrassed after pocketing $12,000 Monday with a little help from Philadelphia quarterback Ty Detmer.
Forsman and Detmer teamed for a skin on the eighth hole of the nine-hole competition that featured four ex-BYU quarterbacks in an alternate-shot format. After no one could win the ninth hole on two tries, it was left to a "chip-off" from 50 yards away from the ninth pin. When Forsman was the only one of the eight players who could get within 10 feet of the flag, he was $8,000 richer."I was pretty fortunate - that's a lot of money for one little shot," said Forsman. "It was fun today - I enjoyed it. I've got to give a lot of credit to my partner."
Forsman was fortunate to have Detmer as a partner in the new Skins format that paired a local PGA Tour golfer with an ex-BYU quarterback. Detmer, who played well in the recent Cadillac tournament featuring NFL players and Senior Tour golfers, got off to a slow start Monday before helping out on the later holes. His 7-iron approach at No. 8 from 170 yards helped win a $4,000 skin on the hole.
Keith Clearwater and Jim McMahon won five skins worth a total of $10,000, while Jay Don Blake and Gifford Nielsen teamed to win a pair of skins worth $3,000. Mike Reid and Marc Wilson were shut out.
The four pros, who competed individually the three previous years, were paired with the four ex-BYU quarterbacks in an effort to spice up the event and perhaps bring out a few more of the Cougar football fans. Each of the golfers wore the BYU jersey of his partner, while the football players wore golf attire.
A crowd of 2,500 was announced, but if there were that many, they didn't all stick around to the end after slogging through the soaked East Bay course, which had been hammered by rain over the weekend.
The golfers and quarterbacks had a good time, joking and doing silly things to make the gallery laugh. When one of the QBs would hit a poor drive, comments like "I hope a receiver gets under that one" or "That was a little underthrown" abounded. And there were quite a few errant shots from the quarterbacks.
Blake, who has won the least amount of money the past three years, seemed to have lucked out to have drawn Nielsen, now a Houston sportscaster, who sports a 2-handicap. The pair won the first and fourth holes - worth $1,000 and $2,000, respectively - but came up empty after that.
Clearwater and McMahon, who attended BYU together in the late 1970s and early 1980s, won $2,000 on the third hole on a chip-in by McMahon and picked up $8,000 at No. 7 when Clearwater drained a 20-foot putt from the fringe after McMahon set them up with a nice tee shot on the par 3. Clearwater was the most talkative of player and the perfect partner for the eccentric McMahon, who wore his wraparound sunglasses, an earring and shorts.
Reid and Wilson made up the quiet twosome. Not only did the the pair hardly say a word the entire match, they were quiet on the course, not coming up with a single skin. Wilson, a 14-handicapper, who had apparently been frantically practicing the past couple of months to get ready, struggled, hitting a couple of shanks into the crowd and another into the water.
He had a chance to redeem himself on the final hole when Reid's approach shot landed within five feet, but Wilson's birdie putt to win the $8,000 skin slid past the cup.
Each of the quarterbacks talked about the tremendous pressure they feel on the golf course, even more than in football. McMahon said golf is the most difficult sport he's ever played, while Detmer said it is much harder having a crowd 10 feet away in golf compared to distant crowds at football stadiums.
Reid picked up a couple of $1,000 checks for winning closest to the hole competitions, while Blake won one $1,000 closest-to-the-hole check.
The 54-hole Novell-Provo Open begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. Top professionals from around Utah and 24 other states will be on hand for the tournament, which pays $10,000 to the winner.