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Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame inductee recalls debut on LPGA Tour

Being inducted into a hall of fame elicits a wide range of emotions.

While serving as the president of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame, I have watched as a previous inductee wept almost uncontrollably while giving an acceptance speech and another keep a smile on her face throughout the ceremony.

But Monday morning was the first time I witnessed tears start flowing from a future inductee. Such was the case as I spoke with Kerri Clark, an LPGA teaching professional at Wildhorse Golf Club and a former LPGA Tour player. She will be inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame in October.

Clark, 54, became emotional when she thought back to the 1987 Mazda Classic in Boca Raton, Florida, her first LPGA Tour event.

“I’m probably going to cry when I talk about this, but my dad caddying for me in my first event on the LPGA Tour is something I will always cherish,” Clark said. “He caddied for me when I qualified to make the tour and then in that first tournament. He’s no longer with us.”

Jerry Clark first introduced golf to Kerri and her brother, Rick, at Craig Ranch golf course and was a president of the Southern Nevada Golf Association. He would beam with pride as his daughter won local and national junior golf tournaments, then an individual Nevada state high school title in 1980 as a junior at Rancho.

Kerri then played at Weber State, where she was an All-American. She helped the school win Division II national championships in 1982 and 1985, then turned professional.

“My story is one of family,” Clark said. “My mom (Mary Ellen) and dad supported me 100 percent and never told me no, so I took it and ran with it. I remember as a little girl noticing that there were only two sports women could play and get paid for, golf and tennis, and I wasn’t a big runner. I really enjoyed golf, and I’m very thankful for the career that I have had.”

Clark is now a teaching professional and operates the Las Vegas Women’s Golf School with Jennifer Alexander. She teaches golfers of all ages, but has a soft spot for younger players.

“I tell them to have fun, and if it stops being fun, then it isn’t for them,” Clark said. “I had fun with it, and that is the most important thing.”

The rest of the Class of 2017: Tom Hartley, a longtime benefactor and UNLV Golf Foundation member; the late Bill Farkas, the longtime head professional at Las Vegas Country Club; and the Southern Nevada Golf Association.

Induction festivities feature a pro-am Oct. 26 at Las Vegas National Golf Club and the Night of Induction on Oct. 27 at The Hill at TPC Summerlin. The induction is the official kickoff of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Events are open to the public. Details are at LasVegasGolfHOF.com.

Deal of the week

A round of golf at Bear’s Best and two tickets to a 51s game is $51 for residents.

PGA Junior League

Junior teams captained by pros Jeff Gallagher and Tim Skophammer will play Aug. 4 at Reflection Bay to determine the Southern Nevada representative in the PGA Junior League all star regionals in Arizona.

Stars on, off course

Brady Exber, Edward Fryatt and UNLV golfer J.C. Chong comprise the SNGA team this week at the Pacific Coast Amateur at Chambers Bay in Washington.

The golf notebook appears Thursdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider on Twitter.

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