Benton Harbor, Mich. (Sunday, July 31) – Seventeen-year-old Jamie Lovemark
made history Sunday in the 103rd Western Amateur, becoming the youngest player
ever to win the championship and only the third player to win both the Western
Junior and the Western Amateur.
Not since Bobby Clampett won both championships in 1978 had the feat been accomplished.
Jim Wiechers was the first, and only other, golfer to win both, claiming the
Western Junior in 1964 and the Western Amateur in 1966.
Lovemark, who won the Western Junior in July 2004 at Denver Country Club, cruised
to the 2005 Western Amateur title at Point O’Woods Golf and Country Club
in Benton Harbor, Mich., winning his semifinal match, 5 and 4, over 20-year-old
Luke List, a junior at Vanderbilt, and claiming the championship with a 3 and
2 win over another 20-year-old, Chris Wilson, a junior at Northwestern.
By winning the Western Amateur, Lovemark also earned an exemption to play in
the 2006 Cialis Western Open, the PGA TOUR’s annual stop at Cog Hill Golf
Club in Lemont, Illinois. That makes him eligible to play in all three WGA championships
next year. On Sunday, Lovemark still was at a loss for words to describe his
thoughts on winning the Western Junior and Western Amateur in a 13-month span.
“Right now it’s very hard to explain. It hasn’t really sunk
in,” said Lovemark, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. “When I wake up,
I think I’ll realize I just won one of the best amateur tournaments in
the country. It’s beyond words … it’s pretty much beyond belief
to me. That’s quite an honor to win both.”
Lovemark, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, recorded his historic Western
Amateur win while playing in just his second amateur event. He played in the
2003 U.S. Amateur but failed to make match play.
“I’ve haven’t really played against these guys,” he
said. “My first round (in stroke play on Wednesday), I shot 69. I looked
at the other scores and realized I could play with them.”
Success at the junior level also helped prepare him mentally. “I’ve
won some pretty big events, the Western Junior and the Rolex (Junior All-American),”
he said. “You have to learn how to win first. Once you win, it becomes
Lovemark indicated he’s looking forward to testing his game against the
world’s best golfers at the Cialis Western Open in July 2006. “That’s
like a newer level. That’s as high as it gets,” he said. “I’m
going to work really hard over the year, and, hopefully, I’ll be ready
For now, Lovemark expects to drop plans to play in next week’s Pacific
Coast Amateur. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to cancel that and
go back home and rest,” he said. “I knew a lot about this tournament.
I knew you had to play a lot of golf …” – 72 holes of stroke
play and four 18-hole matches for the champion and runner-up.
Lovemark played fewer holes than his opponents in match play; none of his matches
went past the 16th hole – his four victories were 3 and 2, 3 and 2, 5
and 4 and 3 and 2. Wilson, who fell in the final, went the full 18 holes in
two of his matches and needed 22 holes to win his quarterfinal match.
For Wilson, of Dublin, Ohio, the finish was bittersweet. It was his best performance
in a national amateur event, but he couldn’t help pondering what might
“Jamie’s a great player, and he deserves it. When you’re
playing a player of Jamie’s capacity, all facets of your game have to
be at the top,” Wilson said. “I missed a couple of putts I should
have made. I didn’t drive it as well as I did yesterday. It just comes
down to who makes the putts. Today, he made a couple and I missed a couple.”
Although most junior events are stroke play, Lovemark proved match play fits
his game. “I consider myself a good match play player,” he said.
“I try to make people make birdies and not let them win holes with par.
I’m very aware of the strategies involved in match play.”
Making your own birdies helps, too. In his morning semifinal match against
List, Lovemark made four birdies on the front nine to take a 3-up lead at the
turn, and birdied the par 4, 422-yard, 16th to notch the 3 and 2 victory. Against
Wilson, he birdied the first hole to take a lead he never lost.
Wilson advanced to the championship match by edging New Zealander Brad Iles,
1 up, in his morning semifinal. Wilson took a 1-up lead on the second hole against
Iles and built the lead to 3-up through 13 holes. Iles scratched back, winning
the next two holes to cut Wilson’s lead to 1-up, but Wilson managed to
halve the last three holes, sinking an 8-foot, uphill par putt on the par 4,
421-yard, 18th to seal the win.
Quotes from the morning semifinals
Luke List, semifinalist
- Lost to Jamie Lovemark, 5 and 3
“He played great. I didn’t put any pressure on him. That was unfortunate,
but he deserved it. He was capitalizing on all of his birdie putts. It was one
of those days. I couldn’t get any putts to drop. I just couldn’t
get anything going. To get it done, you have to make some putts. It’s
a great golf course and a great tournament. I’ll be back. I have two more
years (of amateur golf).”
Brad Iles, semifinalist
- Lost to Chris Wilson, 1 up
“It was one of those days where nothing went right. I was 1 down after
the second hole. It was all downhill from there. My putter was just cold today,
but it’s been hot the whole tournament. The law of averages … it
had to go down sometime. I’ve been putting amazing the whole tournament
except for today. He deserved it. He’s a solid player. I would have felt
bad taking it from him. It’s been a great week. This has been an amazing
week for me. I came in not feeling anything … and it kept getting better
NOTES ON THE SEMIFINALISTS
Jamie Lovemark, 17, Rancho Santa Fe, California - Senior, Torrey Pines
First team, Rolex Junior All-American. In July 2004, won the Rolex
Tournament of Champions and the 2004 Western Junior in consecutive weeks, tying
the Denver Country Club competitive course record of 65 in final round of the
Western Junior. Member, 2004 Canon Cup team. Playing in his first Western Amateur.
Earned exemption with his Western Junior win at Denver Country Club.
Chris Wilson, 20, Dublin, Ohio - Junior, Northwestern
2005 second team, All-Big 10. Winner, 2005 Ohio Amateur. 2003 Ohio
Golf Association Junior champion. Playing in his second Western Amateur.
Luke List, 20, Ringgold, Georgia - Junior, Vanderbilt
Third-team All-American in 2004 as a freshman at Vanderbilt and honorable
mention in 2005. Also named to the NCAA All-Freshman team in 2004. Was first-team
All-SEC in 2004 and 2005. Placed 33rd in the 2005 Masters and competed in 2003
and 2005 U.S. Opens. Runner-up in the 2004 U.S. Amateur and semi-finalist at
2003 U.S. Public Links Amateur Championship. Tied for second, 2002 Western Junior.
2001 and 2002 Tennessee high school state champion. Named 2002 AJGA All-American
second team. Playing in his second Western Amateur. Ranked sixth in Golfweek
Men's Amateur rankings as of June 2005.
Brad Iles, 21, Tauranga, New Zealand
2003 and 2004 New Zealand Player of the Year. Champion, 2003 and 2005
North Island Amateur, 2004 Australian Stroke Play. Medalist, 2004 New Zealand
Amateur and Australian Amateur. 2003 and 2005 New Zealand Four Nations Team.
Second, 2003 Riversdale Cup. Playing in his first Western Amateur.
* * * * * *
- for all rounds of “Sweet 16” Match Play at the 103rd Western Amateur,
presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf
First Round Match Play Results:
- Saturday morning, July 30, 2005
Jamie Lovemark, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., def. Andres Gonzales, Olympia, Wash.,
3 and 2
Danny Green, Jackson, Tenn., def. Jon McLean, Weston, Fla., 1 up
Randy Lowry, Spring, Texas, def. Cole Isban, South Bend, Ind., 5 and 3
Luke List, Ringgold, Ga., def. Brian Carroll, Crystal Lake, Ill., 2 and 1
Philip Francis, Scottsdale, Ariz., def. Jonathan Moore, Portland, Ore., 1 up
Chris Wilson, Dublin, Ohio, def. Andrew Dodt, Queensland, Australia, 1 up
Brad Iles, Tauranga, New Zealand, def. Nathan T. Smith, Brookville, Pa., 20
Richard Scott, Kingsville, Ontario, Canada, def. Seung-Su Han, Las Vegas, Nev.,
Quarterfinal Match Play Results
- Saturday afternoon, July 30, 2005
Lovemark def. Green, 3 and 2
List def. Lowry, 3 and 1
Wilson def. Francis, 22 holes
Iles def. Scott, 19 holes
- Sunday morning, July 31
Lovemark def. List, 5 and 4
Wilson def. Iles, 1 up
- Sunday afternoon, July 31
Lovemark def. Wilson, 3 and 2
NOTE: Story courtesy Western Golf Association. For complete scores, please click
on the tournament link above and click the results button (amateurgolf.com membership