All-AmeriUniversity of Minnesota men's golfer Justin Smith has accepted an invitation to play in the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, Nov. 23-25. Twenty nine of the nation's top collegiate golfers will take part in the 29th annual Western Refining Golf Classic held at the par 71, 6,781-yard El Paso Country Club.
Smith, a senior from Moon Township, Pa., is the first Minnesota golfer to be selected twice and will be making the eighth appearance by a Minnesota golfer in the event. The preseason second team All-American leads the Gophers in stroke average during the 2003 fall season at 71.60 and has not finished lower than fourth in a tournament this season. Smith, a 2003 honorable mention All-American and a 2002 third team honoree, won the Adams Cup Tournament earlier this season. He has qualified for the 2001, 2002, and 2003 U.S. Amateurs.
This year's tournament features seven Palmer Cup players and three Walker Cup players, as well as 2001 Golf Classic Champion Brad Heaven (Toledo). Jason Hartwick (Texas), Brock Mackenzie (Washington), Chris Nallen (Arizona) and Heaven are making their third straight appearance in the event, becoming the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd players to appear in the tournament three times.
Throughout the years, many Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic competitors have gone on to pursue successful careers in the Professional Golfers' Association of America and on the PGA Tour. Some of the past champions include Ricky Barnes (2000), Notah Begay (1994), David Duval (1991), Matt Kuchar (1999), Davis Love III (1984), Jerry Pate (1974) and Tiger Woods (1995).
Each university is awarded a $1,000 scholarship if a golfer from that school competes in the tournament.