The Lilac City Invitational returns July 7-10 with a heftier first-place check and notable changes to a few holes at the Fairways.
The 53rd edition of the region’s only 72-hole tournament will pay $8,000 to the winner, a sizable increase from $5,000 the last few years.
Past champions Brian Miller (2015), Tony Robydek (2014) and Russell Grove (2013) are in the field, as well as perennial contenders Corey Prugh of Manito, Jason Humphrey of Coos Bay, Oregon, and Kevin PomArleau of Wenatchee. There are several divisions for amateurs.
“It’s nice to continue growing the purse and the donation to the Shriners Hospitals For Children – Spokane,” Fairways general manager and pro Kris Kallem said. “Our goals are always to raise money for the hospital and provide a professional purse that will attract one of the strongest fields in the Northwest.”
New challenges await pros and amateurs. A small seasonal wetlands area adjacent to No. 8 green has been developed into a water hazard that extends 130 yards from the green.
Leftover dirt from the excavation of the pond was used to construct a new tee box that will serve as the back tees for Nos. 8 and 1. From the tips, No. 8 now reaches 410 yards and No. 1 stretches beyond 400 yards. Both holes were reachable for long hitters.
“The (new) pond really won’t come into play much on the second shot, but off the tee it definitely will,” Kallem said. “No. 8 and No. 1 will be longer and more challenging. Players will have to think about club selection off the tee.
“The course might be a little tougher but these players are so talented. I wouldn’t be surprised to see somebody get to 20-under par.”
Kallem said the course is in great shape and the rough, particularly the native grasses, should be thick for the tournament.
“The greens are rolling well, a little slower than normal, but they’ll be double cut each day of the tournament and rolled so they should be pretty fast,” he said.
The Lilac always features several popular contests (long drive, wedge and putting). Live music will be provided by Dusty Klink and Nobody Famous on Friday, July 8. The three-day putting competition is open to the public.
Spectator tickets are $10 for one day or $15 for all four rounds. More information: golfthefairways.com or call 509-747-8418.
Also: Entries are being accepted for the first annual Spokane County Golf Championship.
The 54-hole tournament begins Friday, Aug. 12, at Hangman Valley, moves to MeadowWood on Saturday and concludes Sunday at Liberty Lake. Cost is $160, which includes green fees, range balls and dinner Saturday at MeadowWood.
More information: spokanecountygolf.com, or contact Hangman Valley at (509) 448-1212, MeadowWood at 255-9539 and Liberty Lake at 255-6233.
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