Keith Clearwater Athlete Profile | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

Keith Clearwater Athlete Profile

Keith Clearwater

Keith Clearwater
Height: 5-10 Roster Years: 1979-1982 Hometown: Sacramento, CA Hall of Fame: 1992

  • 1992 Men's Golf


  • 1981 NGCA First Team
  • 1982 NGCA Second Team

1992 Hall of Fame

Inductee Keith Clearwater once wrote that his aspiration was to "play and win at the highest level of competition the game of golf [had to] offer." Though he has struggled at times to reach that level, he has always surfaced triumphant.

Coming to BYU on the advice of another former Californian and Cougar player, Bobby Clampett, Keith battled to make the traveling team when he first arrived in Provo.

By his junior year he was a first-team All-America pick and named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He led BYU to an NCAA championship in 1981, where he tied for 10th place in the medallist competition. That same year Keith won the John Geertsen Award, given annually to the Cougar golfer with the lowest scoring average. In his final two seasons at BYU, his average score was 72.04 in 45 rounds. He also finished as the runner-up in the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, during his college career.

Keith played in the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur in 1980 and was named second-team All-America in 1982. He joined teammate Rick Fehr in the seventh annual NCAA-Japan All-Star golf competition and played in the 1982 North-South Amateur Championship. It was assumed he would quickly unite with the other Cougars on the Big Time Tour in 1982.

At the Tour Qualifying School, however, Keith misfired and had to settle for the Asian Tour. He again failed to qualify the following year and played on the TPA Tour. He won the 1985 Alaska State Open and was the winner of four mini-tour events in 1986, but it took five years to acquire his PGA card.

Once during those long years he was asked what he would do if he didn't make it on the PGA Tour. He replied, "It's not a matter of if, it's when. I'll keep trying if it takes me 15 years."

That determination gave Keith his first tour victory in 1986, just four and a half months after he had earned his card. He shot back-to-back 6-under-par 64s in the final day of the prestigious Colonial National Invitational to win it all. His 14-under-par 266 equaled the Colonial record set in 1985 by Corey Pavin. That same year, Keith tied the U.S. Open record with a 6-under-par 64 in the third round at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He closed the official season by winning the Centel Classic.

Named the MasterCard Rookie of the Year in 1987, he tied for second in the BellSouth Atlanta Golf Classic in 1990 and turned in two top 10 finishes in 1991.


  • Native of Sacramento, Calif.

Career Highlights

  • Named First-Team All-America and Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1981
  • Led BYU to an NCAA Championship in 1981
  • Also won the John Geertsen Award in 1981, given to the Cougar golfer with the lowest scoring average
  • Named Second Team All-America in 1982

Before BYU

  • Transferred from St. Mary's in 1978

After BYU

  • Played in multiple golf tournaments, finally earned his PGA card in 1986

Post BYU Honors and Societies

  • Won his first tour victory in 1986
  • Won the Colonial National Invitational
  • Tied the U.S. Open record with a 6-under-par 64 in the third round at the Olumpic Club in San Francisco
  • Won the Centel Classic
  • Named the MasterCard Rookie of the Year in 1987
  • Tied for second in the Bell South Atlanta Golf Classic in 1990 
  • Earned two top-10 finished in 1991
  • Inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1992

1979-1980 | Sophomore Year

  • Qualified for and played in the U.S. Amateur
  • Played in the U.S. Open

1980-1981 | Junior Year

  • Named WAC Player of the Year
  • Placed 10th in the NCAA
  • Played in all 14 tournaments
  • Was runner-up in three major tournaments
  • Finished second in the Rebel Classic, Raphael Alarcon International and the Cougar Classic

1981-1982 | Senior Year

  • Named Second Team All-America