Only two golfers with local ties are competing in this year's select Masters field.
St. George native Jay Don Blake earned his first Masters invitation by winning the Shearson-Lehman Open in San Diego earlier this year. He is one of 15 first-timers in this year's tournament. He teed off in the final group Thursday at 12:39 p.m. with Payne Stewart.Blake, a former All-American at Utah State, is having his finest year on the PGA Tour with $283,894, good for 10th on the money list.
Also playing is ex-Utah resident Billy Casper, who has a lifetime exemption as a former champion (1970). This is the only tournament on the PGA Tour that the 59-year-old Casper, who plays on the Senior Tour, still competes in. He teed off with Doug Ford in the fourth group of the day.
Provo resident Mike Reid, who has been a regular at the Masters in recent years, didn't qualify under the strict requirements of the tournament. - Mike Sorensen