Originally created 02/15/05

Golf Capital shifts its site

The longest-running amateur golf tournament in the area is returning to Georgia after a six-year run in South Carolina.

The 42nd annual Gordon Uhl/Golf Capital Invitational will be played May 22-23 at Augusta's Forest Hills Golf Club, which will continue to play host to the Augusta City Amateur.

Both tournaments are part of the spring-summer Regions Cup amateur golf tournament series.

Golf Capital tournament director Linda Uhl, who sponsors a golf scholarship for Augusta State's golf teams, made the move because she wanted the tournament to be at the Jaguars' home course.

"I thought it was an appropriate place to have the tournament," Uhl said.

"I thought it needed to be played here," Forest Hills head pro and general manager Robby Watson said. "This is a good fit."

The Golf Capital had been played at Augusta's Green Meadows Country Club (1964-1969) and Goshen Plantation Golf Club (1970-1997) before moving to Graniteville's Midland Valley Country Club in 1998.

After Linda Uhl's husband, and tournament founder, Gordon Uhl died in 1994, she took over as tournament director. In 1996, she created the Gordon Uhl Golf Scholarship to help the Augusta State program.

The money, which comes from Golf Capital proceeds and from money raised from hole sponsors during the tournament, goes into the school's golf scholarship budget for the men's and women's teams.

According to Augusta State, Uhl has contributed more than $40,000 to the scholarship fund. Some of that money helped with scholarships for former Jaguars Jamie Felder, Matthew Ricks and such PGA Tour winner Vaughn Taylor.

When Uhl ended the tournament contract with Goshen Plantation after the 1996 tournament, her first choice for a new venue was Forest Hills Golf Club. But at the time, the course already had all the tournaments it could handle.

Forest Hills, which was closed for seven months in 2003, doesn't have as many events now, which spurred Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant into action.

Bryant, who works with Uhl each year on the scholarship fund, remembered that she wanted to bring the Golf Capital to Forest Hills in 1998.

He thought the timing might be right to have it there now.

Bryant asked Watson to contact Uhl to see if she'd be interested.

She was, and by early January, a deal had been reached by the two sides.

"I'm happy to see the tournament at Forest Hills, especially with the contribution Linda makes to both the men's and women's programs," Bryant said.

Uhl wasn't planning on moving the tournament until she was contacted by Watson.

"I didn't have a problem with Midland Valley; they treated me good," Uhl said.

Among the winners of the Golf Capital are former Augustan and Champions Tour golfer Allen Doyle (four times) and current PGA Tour player Charles Howell (1994), a former Augustan.

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.


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