The Western Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

3rd August  2019

Garrett RANK (CAN) beat Daniel WETTERICH (USA) by a score of 3&2 in the 18 hole Final of the Western Amateur at Point O’ Woods G. & C.C.

Rank, aged 31, is a full time National Hockey League referee in North America and his golf is therefore largely restricted to the summer months.

He is the first Canadian to win the prestigious title since 1977 and the first mid-amateur since 1997.

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Garrett Rank (Photo: Western Amateur)

Here are the full Match Play results: –

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MP Results – Upper Half (Photo: Western Amateur / GolfGenius Scoring)

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MP Results – Lower Half (Photo: Western Amateur / GolfGenius Scoring)

Medalist Davis THOMPSON (USA) beat young Australian Karl VILIPS on Day 1 but fell later on the same day to David LASKIN (USA), the Arizona University player, in the Quarter Finals.

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – MP Qualifying Results

Interestingly from a Walker Cup selection perspective this major event is raising more questions than answers for the USGA. All of the leading U.S. players either crashed out in stroke play or in match play round 1.

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The ‘Sweet 16’ Match Play Qualifiers (Photo: Western Amateur) 

ME.

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1st August 2019

Davis THOMPSON (USA) 67 68 65 67 (-13) secured Stroke Play Qualifying medalist honours by 4 shots from Eric BAE (USA) 69 69 67 66 (-9) and Daniel WETTERICH 66 68 69 68 (-9) on Day 3 of the Western Amateur Championship.

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Davis Thompson Receives The Cameron Eddy Trophy (Photo: Western Amateur) 

The 53 remaining competitors all played a further 36 holes today to determine the Sweet 16 match play field.

Here are the leading stroke play scores after 72 holes: –

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The Sweet 16 Qualifiers (Photo: Western Amateur / GolfGenius Scoring)

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) 70 70 70 73 (+3) missed the final match play cut finishing tied 44th.

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying Scores (Select ‘Round 4’)

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31st July 2019

Ben JONES (ENG) 74 69 (+3) T78 missed the first stroke play cut which was made at the close of play on Day 2.

53 competitors made the cut which is set at the leading 44 players and ties after 36 holes.

The remaining players now play a final 36 holes to determine the ‘Sweet 16’ match play qualifiers tomorrow.

Defending champion Cole HAMMER (USA) also failed to advance to Day 3. His rounds of 72 and 69 left him on +1 which proved to be 1-shot too many.

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying Scores (Select ‘Round 2’)

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29th July 2019

The 117th Western Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan in the Unites States.

The Western Amateur is one of the world’s leading amateur golf tournaments. Only the U.S. Amateur Championship and the Amateur Championship could be considered more prestigious.

Put simply The Western has history and tradition, strong entry procedures, the best format and arguably the best trophies in all of amateur golf.

The Championship is run by the Western Golf Association (WGA). The WGA were established in 1899 and appropriately set up their headquarters in the town of Golf, Illinois. In addition to the Western Amateur the WGA also run the Western Junior Championship (since 1914) and the BMW Championship, the second oldest professional tournament in the U.S.A.

The event sits uncomfortably in the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golf calendar, coming at the height of the European season. Despite the small number of GB&I entries normally seen the event is of such standing that it is always worthy of our attention, particularly in Walker Cup years from a U.S.A. team selection perspective.

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Field

156 players are exempted or invited to compete. Free to choose whichever ranking it wishes the WGA uses the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) to assess exemptions (top 175).

In 2018 more players in the Top 300 of the SPWAR competed in the Western Amateur (113) than in both the U.S. Amateur (103) and the Amateur Championship (103). That is despite the two major Championships having much larger fields, 312 and 288 players respectively.

Ben JONES (ENG) and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) are the only entries from GB&I this year. Jones is playing for the second time whilst Lumsden debuts despite having been a

student at nearby Northwestern University in Chicago for the last few years.

2019 Draw

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying Startsheet

Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. (Photo: Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. Website)

For more information take a look at the Championship website – www.thewesternamateur.com

Format

Not only is the field often the strongest in amateur golf the current format, which was first adopted in 1961, is arguably the best of any amateur tournament in the world. It certainly offers a thorough examination of the players.

All of the field start by playing 18 holes of stroke play on each of the first two days.

A 36 hole cut to the low 44 scores and ties is then made.

The remaining players then play a further 36 holes of stroke play on Day 3.

At the end of 72 holes the low 16 finishers progress to the match play stage. A sudden death play off is used to separate those players tied for 16th place.

The “Sweet Sixteen” then play match play over the final two days of competition, the finalists having to play two matches on each day.

2019 Venue

Point O’ Woods G. & C.C., located in Benton Harbor, southwest Michigan has long been associated with the Western Amateur Championship having previously held the event 40 times. Firstly in 1963, then in 1965 before becoming its permanent home between 1971-2008.

Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. (Photo: Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. Website)

Point O’ Woods was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened for play in June 1958.

The course plays 7,075 yards from the Championship tees and has a par of 70 (72 for the members). It is protected by tree lined fairways and large, undulating greens. The two nines are similar in length with both playing to a par of 35 (36).

2018 Western Amateur

Last year 18 year old Cole HAMMER (USA) beat Davis RILEY (USA) by 1 Hole to become the 116th Western Amateur champion at Sunset Ridge C.C.

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Cole Hammer With The Cameron Eddy Trophy (SP) and George R. Thorne Trophy (MP) (Photo: Western Amateur)

Hammer had to work hard for the title, playing a record equalling 76 holes of match play in addition to the stroke play qualifying. In an outstanding performance Hammer led from the front for virtually the whole Championship. He was co-medalist, with Sam STEVENS (USA), in the stroke play qualifying, with both players producing a superb 261 (-23) total for the 72 holes. Hammer’s total also included a new course record 61 in Round 3 which included 10 unblemished birdies on the par 71 Sunset Ridge course.

Only two GB&I players competed last year, Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) and Ben JONES (ENG). McKenzie recorded scores of 71 and 69 (-2) to lie tied 68th whilst Jones’ 74 and 72 (+4) saw him sitting in tied 132nd when the first stroke play qualifying cut fell.

Click here to view the 2018 Western Amateur Championship – Match Play Results

Click here to view the 2018 Western Amateur Championship – Stroke Play Results

History and Other Past Winner’s

The Western Amateur was founded in 1899 and the 2019 event will be its 117th playing. It is the third-oldest amateur championship in the world.

As the various photos in this article show the trophies certainly match the history and prestige of the event.

Virtually all of the great names in U.S. golf have competed in and in many cases won the Western Amateur.

There has never been a GB&I winner albeit Florida-based Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) went close in 2016 at Knollwood C.C. Sam won the stroke play qualifying by 9 shots (63, 75, 67, 64 / -15) before losing to Dylan MEYER (USA) 3&1 in the Final.

Here’s a selection of former winners: –

Last 6 Years

2018 Cole Hammer – Sunset Ridge C.C.
2017 Norman Xiong – Skokie C.C.
2016 DylanMeyer – Knollwood Club
2015 Dawson Armstrong – Rich Harvest Farms
2014 BeauHossler – The Beverly C.C.
2013 JordanNiebrugge – The Alotian Club

Others

Jamie Lovemark – 2005 (youngest winner at 17 years, 6 months and 8 days).
Ryan Moore – 2004.
Tiger Woods – 1994.

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Tiger Woods (Photo: Western Amateur)

Justin Leonard – 1992 and 1993 (1991 Runner-Up).
Phil Mickelson – 1991.

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Phil Mickelson (Photo: Western Amateur) 

Chris DiMarco – 1988.
Scott Verplank – 1985.
Hal Sutton – 1979 and 1980. 
Bobby Clampett – 1978
Andy Bean – 1975
Curtis Strange – 1974.
Ben Crenshaw – 1973.
Andy North – 1971.
Lanny Wadkins – 1970. 
Steve Melnyk – 1969. 
Tom Weiskopf – 1963.
Jack Nicklaus – 1961. 
Tommy Aaron – 1960.
Dr. Ed Updegaff – 1957 and 1959. 
Charles Coe – 1950. 
Frank Stranahan – 1946, 1949, 1951 and 1952 (4).
Marvin Ward – 1940, 1941 and 1947. 
Charles Yates – 1925.
Don Moe – 1929 and 1931.
Francis Ouimet – 1917.
Chick Evans – 1909, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1920, 1921, 1922 and 1923 (8). 
H. Chandler Egan  – 1902, 1904, 1905 and 1907 (4).  

Bobby Jones first played in 1917 when he was just 15. He reached the match play stage before losing in Round 1 (32) to Daniel ‘Ned’ Sawyer. He played for the second time in 1920 where he was medalist before losing to Chick Evans in the semi-finals (36 holes in those days).

Future Venues

The Western Amateur will be staged at the following clubs over the next four years: –
2020 – Crooked Stick G.C., Carmel, Indiana
2021 – Glenview G.C., Golf, Indiana
2022 – Exmoor C.C., Highland Park, Illinois

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.