Bruce Crampton, who has already won a million dollars in three years on the Senior PGA Tour, was in town the other day. On his way from Oklahoma City to Sacramento on the Senior circuit, Crampton stopped by to help promote the Showdown Classic, Utah's biggest annual golf tournament, which will be played July 13-17 at Jeremy Ranch.
Crampton just happens to be the Showdown Classic Honorary Playing Chairman. Why Crampton you ask? After all, he has no local connection such as Billy Casper, who has filled a similar role in past years (nd who won't be able to play in this year's tourney) and he's never won the tournament (lthough he finished second last year).According to Crampton, he got the job because of his special interest in the tourney.
"Last year I was quite concerned with a rumor going around that the Showdown dates were being given to another tournament," he said. "And that didn't settle well with me or a number of other players. This tournament has always been a nice change of pace for us. It's virtually out in the country, away from big cities . . . it's on a sporting golf course that is very demanding . . . the weather is refreshing . . . I'm proud to be part of it."
Crampton says Utah is lucky to have a senior event. After starting with two events in 1980, the Senior Tour will grow to 41 or 42 events next year, putting it close to the PGA Tour in number of events. And once the Senior Tour hits its maximum, it will be hard for new events to break into the schedule.
"Nobody could forsee the manner in which the Senior Tour would grow. It certainly has to be the sports success of the 80s," he said.
"They made a wise decision to come to this city and our organization is doing everthing it can to keep it here. It's well-situated in the Western swing (oming directly after the Sacramento tourney and the Northwest Classic in Washington). It's logical for players to come and play in three events."
Crampton will be back in another week and a half along with other stars such as Miller Barber, Orville Moody, Bobby Nichols and many others.
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STATE AM ON TAP: The 90th edition of the Men's State Amateur Championship gets under way Wednesday at Oakridge Country Club with a record 150 golfers teeing off. By Sunday just two will be left to compete in a 36-hole match-play final.
The field will be cut in half for Thursday's second round and to the low 32 for the beginning of match play Friday. Two rounds of matches that day will pare the field to eight and quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Saturday.
Likely winners? Well you have to start with Bruce Brockbank, who won last year and was in the finals the year before. He's also playing well now, having won the Art City Amateur last week and the Canyon Hills Amateur earlier in the month. Other top candidates include Todd Barker, who has won practically every amateur title in the state except this one and Ron Hitchcock, who always makes it to match play and often to the quarters or semis.
Among the college golfers, there's the University of Utah contingent, Matt Johnson, Devin Dehlin, Doug Roberts, and BYU golfers Rafael Ponce, Brad Sutterfield and Jon Baker
Former champions include Brad Hansen, Steve Borget, Mark Davis and Mitch Hyer, Arlen Peacock and Jack Ridd.
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HOMESTEAD COURSE UNDER WAY: Every time a new golf course is built in Utah, it's cause for rejoicing among golfers. Not only does it give the golfer another choice of where to play, it helps to ease the overcrowdedness, which seems to be one of the biggest complaints a golfer has.
The latest golf course under construction is the Homestead Course in Midway, adjacent to the Homestead hotel and restaurant. Ground was broken Friday and the course is due to be ready for play in the fall of 1989.
Wasatch Mountain pro Bruce Summerhays designed the course and will be the director of golf. The course is a championship-caliber (ren't all courses these days?) 7,185-yard, par-71 layout.
"It will be quite spectacular with Snake Creek running through it," said Summerhays.
Jerry Sander, the owner of the Homestead, notes that it will be Utah's first hotel-owned and managed golf course. "It will be intergrated into the whole management of the Homestead. Guests will be able to book rooms and golf reservations at the same time."
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STRAY SHOTS: Dorie Davis, the reigning ladies club champion at Oakridge Country Club accomplished a rare feat last week when she made not one, but two holes in one in the same round. First she aced the 142-yard No. 5 hole with a 5-iron and followed with an ace at the 126-yard No. 13 hole with a 6-iron . . . Those connected with the local golf scene were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Vance Christensen in California last month. Christiansen was one of the state's top amateurs in the late 1970s and early 1980s . . . Provo's Mike O'Brien and Scott Brockbank qualified for the USGA Junior Amateur at New Haven, Connecticut July 24-30 . . . Former Nibley Park assistant Mike Bicker is the new head pro at Spring Meadows in Bountiful . . . BYU golf coach Gary Howard signed three golfers for next year, including Sharon Probst of Midway.