FARMINGTON — Former University of Utah golfer and 2022 Utah Open champion Blake Tomlinson has played Oakridge Country Club in Farmington so many times that he has forgotten the exact number.

“I just know it is a lot,” said the former Skyline High star, whose parents were Oakridge members until he was 12 years old.

“It is what I have been dreaming of ever since I was a little kid, watching the (Tour) guys go out to Willow Creek and compete. I never thought I would be there, but I think it is becoming more of a reality now. … It will be a fun week.” — Former Utah golfer Blake Tomlinson

Suffice it to say that Tomlinson, currently playing on PGA Tour Canada, won’t forget the next tournament he plays in at the scenic layout just north of Lagoon.

Tomlinson, 24, is receiving an unrestricted sponsor exemption into next week’s Utah Championship, a stop on the PGA Tour’s Korn Ferry Tour, tournament officials announced Tuesday.

The 72-hole tournament begins Aug. 3 at Oakridge Country Club and runs through Aug. 6.

Former Oklahoma State star Zach Bauchou, who recently finished in a tie for fourth place in the KFT’s Kansas Wichita Open, has also been awarded an unrestricted exemption.

Two-time PGA Tour winner Kyle Stanley, 35, is receiving a restricted exemption. Stanley has 24 career top-10 finishes on the big tour and has to be considered a pre-tournament favorite, along with former BYU golfer Patrick Fishburn, a KFT regular in 2023 who finished in a three-way tie for second place and a shot behind winner Andrew Kozan last year.

Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission, which hosts the tournament, with Zions Bank as the presenter, said the fourth and final exempted player will be announced later this week or early next week.

Tomlinson is part of the Tony Finau Foundation mentorship program, which also includes Fishburn and some other local products. He expressed gratitude via a Zoom call Tuesday after receiving the news.

“It is an honor to be selected and it is going to be a great week next week,” Tomlinson said from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he is preparing to play in the Canadian Tour’s Osprey Valley Open Thursday through Sunday. “I am really excited.”

The Utah Championship will mark Tomlinson’s Korn Ferry Tour debut. He said landing the exemption “is huge” for him as he works his way toward the ultimate goal — a PGA Tour card.

“It is what I have been dreaming of ever since I was a little kid, watching the (Tour) guys go out to Willow Creek and compete,” he said. “I never thought I would be there, but I think it is becoming more of a reality now. … It will be a fun week.”

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After winning the Provo Open and Utah Open last summer, Tomlinson tied for second in the PGA Tour Canada qualifying tournament in April in suburban Phoenix to secure playing privileges on that tour. He missed the cut at last week’s Ottawa Open, after a T47 performance at the Quebec Open in mid-July.

“I haven’t continued the momentum lately, but I am thinking it is going to change, at least this week and next week,” he said. “I feel I am coming into some good weeks.”

What does he want to accomplish next week?

“I could give a million different answers,” he said. “… I think mostly I just want to make my friends, family and the state of Utah proud to have me out there. I want to represent them the best way I can.”

Last year, four former or current BYU golfers — Fishburn, Peter Kuest, Daniel Summerhays and Carson Lundell — played in the event, and Kuest added a T5 finish to Fishburn’s T2 for the Cougars.

“Hopefully the Utes can compete a little bit more with BYU,” Tomlinson said. “Hopefully that is in our future.”

Stanley staying in the game

Stanley broke into pro golf in 2009, about the same time as Summerhays, and the two have remained close friends. The Gig Harbor, Washington, native played collegiately at Clemson, where he won the 2009 Ben Hogan Award.

His first PGA Tour win was at the 2012 Waste Management Open in Arizona and his second victory came at the Quicken Loans National in 2017.

“I didn’t play much last year,” he said. “I just finished up on a major medical (exemption) out on the main tour. Just excited to get more competitive reps. Hopefully I can put together a nice week and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Stanley said it is “extremely competitive” to land sponsor exemptions and he won’t take this one for granted.

“It is a thrill when you can end up getting them, because you certainly don’t expect to,” he said. “I am very grateful to have the chance to come down there and play next week.

There are so many good players that are fighting for spots. A lot of really good young talent. I am sure there are a lot of good players from Utah that were in the running. Any time you can get one of these it is a thrill and you have to take advantage of it. Yeah, just very thankful.”

Kyle Stanley eyes the ball on 11th green during the Mexico Open in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Friday, April 28, 2023. A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Stanley received a restricted sponsor’s exemption into next week’s Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club | Moises Castillo, Associated Press