Birmingham, Ala. -- The 12th Annual Greystone Invitational will be played over the Founders Course at Greystone Golf and Country Club from June 21-24.
This invitational has quickly become a "must play" for noted amateurs and mid-amateurs from across the southeast and further afield. Nineteen states and five countries are represented, as well as a myriad of universities and colleges, in this 72-hole championship, which will be cut to the low 70 and ties after Friday's second round.
The former champions list has some big-time names on it including Michael Thompson (2007), who is leading the U.S. Open as I type this and has established himself on the PGA Tour after playing his final two years in college for the University of Alabama.
Inaugural champion Lee Williams (2001), who also won it in 2003, won the Mexico Open on the Nationwide Tour last week and is well on his way to earning his PGA Tour card for 2013.
Williams, who lives in Alexander City, played for Auburn.
Former winners Glenn Northcutt (2010) and Jonathan Dismuke (2004) also played for Auburn; while Mark Harrell (2006) played for Alabama; and Bobby Spiller (2005) and the only former champion in this year's field, played for UAB.
Samford University men's golf coach Woodie Eubanks won in 2008 and is the only mid-amateur to have won the overall title too. He has also won multiple Alabama Golf Association titles including the State Mid-Amateur and the State Four Ball (with Forrest Crabtree).
Bo Andrews won last year, but this recent graduate of Georgia Tech will not be back to defend. Other winners are Justin Yoder (2009) and Zane Goldthorp (2002).
Local (Alabama) college players (current and recent years) include: Clay Nolen, Drew Aimone and Chris Clouser (Samford); Michael Johnson, Jackson Beindorf, Ryan Benton, Brent Cooper, Jake Nolen, Justin Melnick and David Zickler (Auburn); Tom Lovelady, Trey Mullinax, Robby Prater and Hunter Bronson (Alabama); Will Cannon, Sam Love, Wilson McDonald and Michael Ulmer (UAB); and Jake Greer (North Alabama).
Reigning (Alabama) State Amateur champion Andy McRae is playing, as is this year's runner-up and last year's champion Smylie Kaufman (LSU).
Noted local juniors include Robby Shelton IV, Dalton Skinner, Connor Smith and Vasili Kartos.
Top (local) mid-amateurs include Earle Bidez, Al DelGreco, McRae, Will Swift, Scott Weaver, Blake West and Mark Woods.
While Grant Cagle, last year's runner-up, is back to try to go one better and lift the 2012 trophy.
There are 16 former and current State Amateur and Mid-Amateur champions from across the country teeing it up.
And testament to the popularity of the invitational is that over 400 people applied to play, with the final field whittled down to 144 players.