? Annual Invitational kicks off this weekend with strong championship flight

By Clay Horning

Transcript Sports Editor

In just a few days time, the Westwood Invitational will be going full throttle for yet another year. The largest stroke play event in the state gets started at 7 Saturday morning at ? where else ? Westwood Park Golf Course.

The record number of golfers (231) is safe, if only because it can barely be bettered, reported tournament director Ron Stucker. Still, as of Tuesday morning, 195 had entered in one of the tourney's six flights. And those entries are fairly well dispersed among the flights, which means a few spots in each remain.

"Off both tees, I can go 224," Stucker said. "But that's the limit."

As busy as the course will be Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it's already busy behind the scenes. Wednesday was just another 12-hour day for Stucker, who has given his own time to bring off the event for several years.

"Taking calls, ordering food," he said.

There are scoreboard issues and gifts to collect, names to be entered in the computer and a whole bunch of tee times to get straight. Thursday, everything will be given the once-more over. Friday is delivery day.

It takes a lot of food and a lot of, well, stuff, to get ready for 200 golfers, a few of whom are bound to bring a bit of a gallery.

Also, for the first time, the tourney has a corporate sponsor in Tickets Unlimited.

Maybe the most exciting development of the week is the quality of the championship flight.

In his first appearance at Westwood, former Oklahoma standout Kelsey Cline, who has teed it up in a few PGA Tour events in addition to being a regular on the Tight Lies Tour, is in the draw.

A number of former champions ? including Andre Metzger Jr. (defending), Greg Bray and Bryan Reed ? will also be challenging, as will Ryan Rainer, a former high school state champ out of Norman North, who is now playing on the Kansas golf team.

With a field like that, should history hold, it will be another dramatic trek to the 18th green late Monday afternoon.

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