LAKE FOREST, IL (July 31, 2016) -- The Western Amateur is underway, and the field once again features one of the strongest fields in amateur golf. 156 contestants from around the world tee off Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Headlining this year’s field is Cal sophomore and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Collin Morikawa, USC Trojan and 2015 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Sean Crocker of Westlake Village, California, and Florida sophomore Sean Horsfield of Davenport, Florida, who was recently named the 2016 Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman of the Year. Also, a part of the field is 2016 Northeast Amateur and Texas State Amateur winner Fred Wedel of The Woodlands, Texas. Wedel recently completed his career at Pepperdine.
Horsfield is one of six players in this year’s field to qualify for and play in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh. That list also includes 2014 Western Amateur semifinalist Nick Hardy of Northbrook, Illinois, 2014 Sweet 16 qualifier Scottie Scheffler of Dallas, Texas, as well as Sam Burns, Christopher Crawford and Justin Suh.
In total, nine players who will compete for a place in Western Amateur history have played in at least one or more major championship within the last two years.
The field also features defending champion Dawson Armstrong of Brentwood, Tennessee, who will attempt to become the first player since Justin Leonard to win back-to-back Western Amateur titles. Armstrong is coming off a sophomore season at Lipscomb University in which he won two events, notched nine top-10 finishes, garnered all-region honors and was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year.
"The depth of our field is what has made the Western Amateur one of the most prestigious amateur golf championships in the world for more than a century," said Vince Pellegrino, Senior Vice president of Tournaments for the Western Golf Association, which has conducted the event since 1899. “We are excited to see how this group of decorated collegiate players, top-tier international competitors and promising juniors perform on the classic design at Knollwood.”
Returning are six of last year’s Sweet Sixteen qualifiers, including Armstrong, Horsfield, last weeks Porter Cup runner-up Gavin Hall, Adam Wood, Porter Cup winner Harrison Endycott and John Coultas.
They will be joined by top-ranked juniors Wilson Furr, future Florida Gator Andy Zhang, UCLA commit Spencer Soosman and Rice freshman Trevor Brown, who finished runner-up at the 2016 Western Junior last month.
The Western Amateur again features a strong international contingent with 20 nations, including the United States, represented in this year’s field. Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, England, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Venezuela and Wales all have at least one player seeking to become the first international player to win the Western Amateur since New Zealand’s Danny Lee bested the field in 2008.
Knollwood's championship golf course was designed by famed golf course architecture firm, Colt and Alison, and opened for play in 1925. In 2009, restoration specialist Keith Foster was brought in to help oversee a two phase renovation project. Foster added white sand to all the bunkers, reshaped a few fairways and greens, and added over 300 yards to the championship layout. Knollwood now stretches over 7,200 yards from the tips.
Knollwood Club has played host to a number of amateur and professional events most notably, the 1956 US Amateur, 1982 US Mid-Amateur, and 1986 International PGA Cup Matches. The Windon Memorial Golf Classic, hosted by Northwestern University, was also contested at Knollwood in 2000 and 2013.
-Editors Note: Article by the Western Golf Association