Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational: Stakes get higher for tournament

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Plenty of golf with good players and lots of prize money can be found along Fox Chapel Road this week.

Across the road from the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club, the three-day, 72-hole Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational will be played at the Pittsburgh Field Club -- the richest event of its kind in Western Pennsylvania.

Fuhrer, a Fox Chapel businessman and tournament host, has raised the purse to $175,000 with $35,000 to the winner this year. Next year, he will bump the purse to $200,000 with $40,000 to the winner.

The tournament is open to the public.

"I am getting calls from players and agents from across the country wanting to play in the tournament," Fuhrer said. "We've grown this into something real big and it's only going to get bigger."

The field is made up of 40 players -- the top 20 club professionals on the Tri-State PGA points list and 20 players who are invited by Fuhrer. Among those exemptions are amateurs Nathan Smith, the reigning four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion; and seven-time West Penn Amateur champ Sean Knapp.

Knapp has won the event three times, Smith twice.

Also included in the field is mini-tour professional Mike Van Sickle, who is coming off a six-shot victory last week in the West Penn Open. Van Sickle, a Pine-Richland High School graduate, finished second to West Virginia Open champ David Bradshaw a year ago at the Field Club.

"It's amazing what Mr. Fuhrer has done for this event and that we get to compete for that kind of purse," Van Sickle said. "I'm honored that he likes me enough to invite me."

golf

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com or Twitter @gerrydulac.


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