U.S. Amateur Championship – 2015 Preview & Results

UPDATE – Bryson DeChambeau (USA) won the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship, beating Derek Bard 7&6 in the 36-hole Final.

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo: USGA)          

 _______________________________________________________

16th August 2015

The U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Olympia Fields Country Club, just south of Chicago in Illinois.

Administered by the United States Golf Association (USGA) the U.S. Amateur is without question the most important and prestigious competition in amateur golf.

Olympia Fields US Amateur 2015 Logo

Field
A field of 312 players from 23 different countries will contest this year’s Championship.

The average competitor age is 22.16.  The oldest player being Pat Tallent (62, b.12th August 1953) and the youngest Ricky Castillo (14, b. 19th February 2001).

This year entries were received from 7,047 players.  66 of these were exempt into the final field based on their past performances in USGA Championships or via their standing in the Top 50 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) as at 24th June.  The remainder of the field progressed to Olympia Fields via 97 36-hole Sectional Qualifying events played across the United States in June and July.

There are nine GB&I players in the field: –

Tom Bayliss (ENG) – Sectional Qualifier (Medalist – Hobe Sound GC)
Paul Dunne (IRE) – USGA Special Exemption
Ewen Ferguson (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR
Grant Forrest (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR
Sam Horsfield (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR, 2015 US Open Qualifier
Gary Hurley (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR
Nick Marsh (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR
Cormac Sharvin (NI) – Top 50 WAGR
Henry Smart (ENG) – Sectional Qualifier (Medalist – Cedarbrook CC / Old York Road CC)

Six of the above are well known GB&I Internationals.  Equally well known is Sam Horsfield, a top US-based amateur whose family moved to Florida when he was five.  Tom Bayliss is from Kent and has been working on his golf in Florida ahead of turning Pro later this year.  Henry Smart is the London-born Assistant Coach of the College of Charleston Men’s Golf Team.

With the GB&I Walker Cup team due to be provisionally selected on Friday 21st August and formally announced on Monday 24th August the U.S. Amateur may be of critical importance to some of the players competing. Likewise the U.S. Team is due to be finalised on 24th August and with five spots still to be confirmed some of their players will be feeling the pressure to.

The draws for the 36-hole stroke play qualifying competition can be viewed here – US Amateur SP Draw.

Competition Format
On Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one on each of Olympia Fields’ two courses.

Olympia Fileds CC Club House

 Olympia Fields Country Club

The Top 64 qualifiers from this will then move forward to the match play stage of the competition.  Ties for the last qualifying place are resolved by a hole-by-hole play-off.  18 hole match-play rounds will be played between Wednesday 19th and Saturday 22nd August, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 23rd August.

Olympia Fields Country Club
Olympia Fields is one of America’s leading golf clubs.  The club hosted the U.S. Open in 1928 (Johnny Farrell defeating Bobby Jones) and 2003 (Jim Furyk) and the U.S. Senior Open in 1997 (Graham Marsh).

The stroke play qualifier will be played on Olympia Fields’ North and South Courses.  The North Course alone will stage the match play rounds.

North Course
Architect – Willie Park Jnr (1923). Renovated by Mark Mungeam (1997, 2003).
7,234 yards Par 70.
Front 9 – 3,712 yards (36) / Back 9 – 3,522 yards (34).
Course Rating 76.8 / Slope Rating 150

South Course
Architect – Tom Bendelow (1915). Renovated by Steve Smyers (2007).
7,037 yards Par 70.
Front 9 – 3,640 yards (35) / Back 9 – 3,397 yards (35).
Course rating 75.5 / Slope Rating 147

The North Course is clearly the tougher and one can expect this to be reflected in the stroke play qualifying scores.

Olympia Fields NC Aerial

Olympia Fields Country Club – North Course

Weather Forecast (as at 12.00 Noon 16th August 2015)
Mon 17th August – Mostly Clear. Wind 5 mph (E). Temp. Max. 33°C / Min 19°C.
Tues 18th August – Thundery. Wind 10 mph (N). Temp. Max. 31°C / Min 19°C.
Weds 19th August – Thundery. Wind 8 mph (NE). Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 20°C.
Thurs 20th August – Cloudy. Wind 15 mph (NE). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 14°C.
Fri 21st August – Clear.  Wind 8 mph (NE). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 14°C.
Sat 22nd August – Sunny. Wind 5mph (N). Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 16°C.
Sun 23rd August – Thundery. Wind 5mph (N). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 19°C.

Event Coverage
News and score links will be available from the USGA’s website – U.S. Amateur Championship Home Page.

Twitter – @USGA / #USAmateur

Fox Sports are televising the match play stage of the Championship in the United States and Sky Sports will be picking up this feed, probably on the red button if there is no GB&I interest, between Thursday 20th and Sunday 23rd.

Prizes
The 2015 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following: –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the ensuing year.
b) An exemption to play in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont C.C.
c) An exemption to play in the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon G.C.
d) A likely invitation to play in the 2016 Masters at Augusta National G.C.
e) An exemption to play in the 2016 – 2025 U.S. Amateurs; and no doubt
f) Invitations to play in a variety of European Tour and PGA Tour competitions.

A Silver Medal is awarded to the runner-up and Bronze Medals to the two semi-finalists.

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the USGA on March 1895 in honour of the Association’s first President Theodore A. Havemeyer. This was lost in a fire at Bobby Jones’ home club, East Lake, in 1925.  A new gold trophy was produced in 1926.  This was retired in 1992 with a copy of the trophy being produced and passed from champion to champion ever since. Sadly the original gold trophy was stolen from the USGA Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

US Amateur 2015 Infographic

The USGA’s 2015 U.S. Amateur Infographic

Championship History
The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 115th playing.  It was first played in 1895, the winner being Charles B. Macdonald.

It has always been decided by match play save for an 8 year period between 1965 and 1972 when the winner was determined solely by stroke play.

Former US winners include Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959-61), Deane Beman (1960-63), Lanny Wadkins (1970), Craig Stadler (1973), Mark O’Meara (1979), Hal Sutton (1980), Phil Mickelson (1990), Justin Leonard (1992), Tiger Woods (1994-95-96), Matt Kucher (1997) and Peter Uihlein (2010).

British players have won the Championship on six occasions but just twice in the last 100 years – H.J. Whigham (1896-97), Findlay Douglas (1898), Harold Hilton (1911), Richie Ramsay (2006) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013). Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) is the only mainland European to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

In something of a shock last year South Korea’s Gunn Yang won the title beating Canada’s Corey Conners 2 and 1 in the final.  He became the second Korean to win the Championship, following in the footsteps of Byeong-Hun An in 2009, the youngest ever winner at just 17 years old.  An of course is now making a name for himself in the professional ranks and last May won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.  Yang is defending his title this week, hoping to become the first man since Tiger Woods to retain the U.S. Amateur.

Gunn Yang

Gunn Yang – the 2014 U.S. Amateur Champion (Photo: USGA)

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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