Several Hoosiers to Compete in New Year's Invitational
Jan. 6, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Seven members of the IU men's golf team are set to compete in the 83rd Annual New Year's Invitational, beginning on Thursday, Jan. 8 and running through Sunday, Jan. 11 with 72 holes of competition. The event is held at the St. Petersburg Country Club in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Alex Martin captured a top-25 finish in the '08 New Year's Invitational, tying for 24th after carding a four-round total of 295 (74-74-70-77). Seth Brandon was Indiana's top performer in last season's tournament with a 292 (72-76-71-73) that earned him a share of 17th place.
The New Year's Invitational has been held every year since 1927. It is the oldest continuously-running invitational tournament in the Southeast and one of the oldest in the country. Originally it was one of a number of tournaments held in the winter months at clubs around the area. The other events, in fact several of the other clubs, are long departed.
The tournament was a match play event from its inception until 1956. The first winner was Clearwater resident A.T. Cooper. The 1928 winner, Johnny Revolta, was a combination course ranger - locker room attendant at Lakwood Country Club at the time he won. Later, Revolta became a very successful professional, winning the PGA Championship in 1935 and establishing quite a reputation as a short game instructor. In 1938 he celebrated his return to St. Petersburg and Lakewood with a win at the St. Pete Open, a regular stop on the fledgling PGA tour.
Bob Goalby was the first winner after the change to stroke play. He went on to a lengthy PGA career which included a 1968 Masters green jacket. Between 1972 and 1991, Buddy Alexander, son of longtime club pro Skip Alexander, won six titles, the most wins for any player since the World War II era.
During the past two decades the championship has been dominated by collegiate players including winner Ryuji Imada in 1996, Jeff Klauk in 2000 (with a tournament record 21-under par 267), J.B. Holmes in 2003, Brandt Snedeker in 2004 and Jeff Overton in 2005. This year's field shows considerable promise with entrants from around the U.S. as well as Canada, Germany, Finland, the UK, Colombia, Japan, and China. Last year's winner, Bryce Ledford, will not be back as he is pursuing a professional career.
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