Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News archives
In this file photo taken Sept. 12, 2010, Jhonattan Vegas drives his ball during the final round of Nationwide Utah Championship golf tournament at Willow Creek Country Club.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Nationwide Tour's Utah Championship, which until last year was played in early September, will be contested at its earliest time ever with mid-July dates announced by the PGA Nationwide Tour Thursday.

The tournament, which features many of the top golfers in the world not on the PGA Tour, is scheduled for July 12-15 at Willow Creek Country Club.

It will conflict with the U.S. National Public Links Tournament, which will be played the same week at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway. The Public Links, the first USGA golf tournament ever played in Utah, will start July 9 and run through the finals July 14.

Despite the conflict, Utah Golf Association executive director Bill Walker believes the two tournaments can thrive together.

"The first reaction is 'that's a shame,' but it could be a positive," Walker said. "Our approach is that it is 'championship week' in Utah and we'll get more exposure for both tournaments with more media coming in. We're going to work together."

The Utah Championship, which is presented by the Utah Sports Commission, will be one of just two tournaments in July with no tournaments the week before or after.

Last year's Nationwide tournament was played the last week of July and was won by J.J. Killen by four strokes over Jeff Gove. Killeen went on to become the leading money-winner on the Nationwide Tour and earlier this week was named Nationwide Tour player of the year.

The Utah State Amateur, which is traditionally played the second week of July, will be moved back and played July18-22 at the Salt Lake Country Club.

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