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Western Amateur: Top Players Take Aim at Title

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – The field for the 2005 Western Amateur, presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, July 27-31 at Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Mich., again will feature many of the world’s greatest amateur golfers, including five members of the 2004 Western Amateur Sweet 16.

Top collegiate players include 16 who received post-season NCAA All-American honors, including five who were named first-team or second-team All-Americans.

Returning from last year’s Sweet 16 are: Kevin Kisner, Aiken, S.C.; Bronson LaCassie, Brisbane, Australia; Brett Lange, Atlanta, Ga.; Erik Olson, Newcastle, Wash.; and Michael Sim, Perth, Australia. First-team Division I All-Americans Ryan Blaum of Duke, and Pablo Martin of Oklahoma State, also will be among the favorites to challenge for the title.

“We’re looking forward to a very competitive championship featuring an international field representing many world-class amateur players,” noted Kaczkowski. “Most of these young players are not well-known today, but, as history has proven, some of them are destined to become tomorrow’s world-class golfers.”

Past champions at the Point O’Woods in Benton Harbor, Mich., include Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods. Among recent competitors, Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion, is representative of the high caliber of golf played in the Western Amateur at Point O’Woods.

“Ben was our tournament’s runner-up in 2000, and, just three years later, he won the oldest and one of the four most prestigious professional championships in all of golf,” Kaczkowski said. “That speaks highly for Ben and for the entire field year in and year out at the Western Amateur.”

Point O’Woods, a Robert Trent Jones design, consistently has ranked as one of the finest layouts in the world. The championship has been anchored at Point O’Woods since 1971.

A prestigious national tournament since its founding in 1899 at the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, the Western Amateur has been held every year since the inaugural event with the exception of 1918 during World War I and 1943-45 during World War II. This year’s opening round will be played Wednesday, July 27, after tournament qualifiers today at Lake Michigan Hills Golf Course and Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame determine the final field.

Winning the tournament requires playing championship caliber golf for five straight days, and many players consider the format the most challenging in amateur golf. After 36 holes of stroke play over two days, the Western Amateur field is cut to the low 50 and ties. The field then plays 36 more holes of stroke play in one day, with the players recording the low 16 qualifying scores continuing on in match play. Two rounds of match play on each of the final two days determine the champion.

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ABOUT THE Western Amateur (Match Play)

Invitational event, known to many as the 'Masters of Amateur Golf.' Quite probably the hardest amateur tournament to win.

156 invited players come from across the globe to play one of the toughest formats in amateur golf. The tournament starts with 18 holes of stroke play on Tuesday and Wednesday after which the field is cut to the low 44 scores and ties. Thursday it's a long day of 36 holes of stroke play to determine the “Sweet Sixteen” who compete at Match Play on Friday and Saturday (two matches each day if you're going to the finals) to decide the champion.

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