21 Australasians play Western Amateur
BY Bruce Young | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2014 Western Amateur Championship | Preview | 29 Jul 2014
Australian golfers will be keen to continue their success in the US this summer when the time honoured Western Open begins this Tuesday at the Beverly Country Club in Chicago.
Following on from the outstanding run of Geoff Drakeford, the win of Ryan Ruffels and Karl Vilips at the World Junior Championship and the semi-final appearances of both Curtis Luck and Shelly Shin at the US Junior Championships, a strong field of Australians will attempt to keep the roll going.
The Western Amateur was first played in 1899 and included in its honour roll are some of the great names in the game such as major winners Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Andy North, Lanny Wadkins and Tom Weiskopf to name but a few.
The event consists of 156 players competing in 36 holes of qualifying on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by a cut at which point the leading the low 44 scores and ties will play a further 36 holes on Thursday to determine who will advance to the group known as the Sweet Sixteen. Those sixteen will compete at Match Play on Friday and Saturday to decide the champion.
Australian success in the event has been limited with only Bronson La Cassie winning the title in 2006 although New Zealander Danny Lee was also a winner two years later just before his historic US Amateur victory.
This week’s event will again be the lead-up to the US Amateur Championship in Atlanta beginning August 11th.
The Australasian contingent is strong numerically this week and while it will be headed in terms of world amateur ranking by Lucas Herbert, many eyes will be on the performance of Drakeford who has already signalled that this will be his last significant amateur event before turning professional.
Herbert and Drakeford are joined by Ben Eccles, Dale Brandt Richards, Jarrod Freeman, Simon Viitakangas, Antonio Murdaca, Cory Crawford, Jordan Junic, Todd Sinnott, Taylor McDonald, Aaron Wilkin, Cameron Davis, Jarryd Felton and Curtis Luck.
New Zealand, too, has a strong representation with Josh Munn, Luke Toomey, Keelan Kilpatrick, Vaughn McCall, Tae Koh and Hayden Beard teeing it up.