Western Amateur kicks off in Illinois

The Western Amateur is one of amateur golf’s greatest test and starts today at the Beverly Country Club south of Chicago.

The 156-man field features 50 of the world’s top 100 players, including 21 of the top 37, giving the Western Amateur one of the highest concentration of elite-level players of any event in the amateur game and rightly justifying it’s status as a top-5 world amateur ranking tournament.

Jordan Zunic Jordan Zunic (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Fifteen Australians have entered including Geoff Drakeford who’s off a win last Saturday at the Porter Cup.

Drakeford is supported by Dale Brant-Richards, Cory Crawford, Jarryd Felton, Lucas Herbert, Curtis Luck, Taylor Macdonald, and Jordan Zunic to name a few in what is the last event before the US Amateur to be played in Atlanta in a fortnight’s time.

The format of the Western Amateur is arguably one of the toughest in amateur golf.

The field will play 18 holes of individual stroke play on Tuesday and Wednesday after which the field will be cut to the low 44 scores and ties. Those remaining will play 36 holes of individual stroke play on Thursday to determine the low 16 finishers.

The “Sweet Sixteen” will compete at Match Play on Friday and Saturday to decide the champion.

Previous champions have included Phil Mickelson (1991), Justin Leonard (1993), Tiger Woods (1994) and earlier Jack Nicklaus (1961). Bronson LaCassie was the last Australian to win the title in 2006 and Adam Scott qualified for the top-16 in 1998, before advancing through to the quarter-finals.