The Southwestern Amateur Championship, one of the country’s long-time leading events for top-ranked amateurs, returns June 16-19 on the Outlaw course at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
While the championship has a 106-year history as a men’s tournament, a women’s division will be introduced this year – presenting a 72-hole stroke play event for each field. The expansion of the tournament has attracted talent far and wide from across the nation, with a field set to add another compelling competitive layer.
John Ranslem, executive director of the Southwestern Golf Association, noticed a need for more high-profile amateur events for women and wanted to be a part of the solution.
“We believe that our new format will resonate with both men and women players and bring an entirely new dynamic to our tournament,” he said.
The Outlaw course, a Jack Nicklaus design, will play host to 72 men and women and previously hosted the competition in 2007. The field boasts quite a few standouts on both sides - read on to discover more about their accomplishments.
In its first year, the SWGA committee has assembled a strong women's field, with a deep mix of college players from all five Power 5 conferences (PAC-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and ACC), collegians and juniors from 15 states, and top-ranked international players from countries like Colombia, Chinese Taipei and Canada.
Players to watch include:
Aneka Seumanutafa, Ohio State University
After a spectacular four top-five finishes start to her spring season and a visit to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Aneka Seumanutafa
claimed an 8-stroke victory at the beginning of the summer at the Jennie K Wilson Invitational. A champion in her own state, the rising Ohio State junior then took on the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite a postseason ban for the Buckeyes, Seumanutafa’s stayed in great competitive shape since the end of the season and should see continued success in this next West Coast stop.
Hsin Yu-Lu, University of Oregon
Oregon’s top-ranked recruit in program history took no time at all to make an impact. A wealth of various professional starts under her belt, she fit right in to score three top-10s and a team win in her freshman campaign that helped carry the Ducks to the National Championship. Despite failing to advance to match play, freshman Hsin Yu-Lu
played a significant role in taking her and her teammates to their first National Championship. Now, she'll be just 20 minutes from Grayhawk in the first amateur stop of her summer.
Ya-Chun Chang, University of Arizona
A return to the University of Arizona campus in the spring offered junior Ya-Chun Chang
a chance to help her team return to postseason glory, after a tremendous runner-up at the 2021 Hitachi Ladies Classic. After advancing to match play and taking down No. 1 seed Stanford in quarterfinals, Arizona marked its third consecutive semifinals exit. Still, the junior’s grit and experience earned her another great season, with a top-10 and two top-30s in the Wildcats’ spring stint. An in-state stop is her first destination of the summer ahead of her senior season.
Maria Bohorquez, Colombia
As one of the top-ranked amateurs out of Colombia, Maria Bohorquez
is headed back to the amateur scene after a successful 2020 that amounted into a top-10, two top-5s and a win at the Abierto Sudamericano Amateur. The Southwestern marks her return to competition.
Ho Yu An, Chiese Taipei
Ho Yu An
headlines the stacked women’s division as the sixth-ranked amateur per WAGR. The 17-year-old competitor has an extensive professional resume to back that up as a two-time winner on the Taiwan Ladies Professional Golf Association (TLPGA). Her impressiveness showed in her last stop at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur with a top-40 finish, with a great chance to follow up her next performance at the Southwestern.
The tradition continues in the 106th year of the men's championship. What spectators will notice are the golf bags, representing all five Power 5 conferences, and college powerhouses like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, USC, UCLA, TCU, Texas A&M, Auburn, San Diego State, UNLV, and many more. It should be a wide-open affair and while many players are worth watching, we have highlighted five below:
Christian Banke, University of Arizona
A surprising postseason exit at Regionals after winning the PAC-12 championship ended graduate student Christian Banke’s
year with Arizona, but the San Diego State transfer surely made the most of his time. He followed up two top-10s in his amateur fall aiding the Wildcats to the Arizona Intercollegiate title and the opened up the postseason with the conference title.
Keegan Bronnenberg, University of Indianapolis
Perhaps the most overlooked on this list, Keegan Bronnenberg’s
recent successes as the DII National Champion and U.S. Open Sectionals are putting the junior UIndy transfer in a league of his own. Leading the team to its first national title with medalist honors in stroke play, Bronnenberg took a try at US Open sectionals and advanced to a final qualifier. His remarkable play will surely translate into the Southwestern on a hot streak many are taking notice of.
Andi Xu, University of San Diego
Three top-10s to open his freshman year up, and Andi Xu
ascended to the top of the West Coast Conference in no time. Named to the All-WCC honorable mention list, his efforts rewarded his team to a trip to the NCAA Championship after a top-10 at the tough NCAA Alburquerque Regional.
James Leow, Arizona State University
Arizona State sophomore James Leow
leads the list as the local and a member of the Sun Devils program. He started his amateur summer early with a top-5 at the Palo Verde Amateur. The familiar turf should play to Leow’s favor, whose last win was in March 2020 at the Lamkin Grips Invitational.
Daniel Gurtner, Guatemala
Returning competitor Daniel Gurtner
of Guatemala saw success in the top 20 in 2018 and revisits with a favorable chance. The TCU graduate has remained competitive in his home country in 2021, with a win in February at the Segundo Torneo de Ranking Nacional.
The event is sponsored by the Southwestern Golf Association, a non-profit organization that promotes amateur golf in the Southwest region. Past winners include Ryan Palmer, Nick Watney, Mark O’Meara, and J.T. Poston. Many of this year's PGA Tour winners are Southwestern Amateur alumni, including Collin Morikawa, Bryson Dechambeau and Max Homa.
The new era of the Southwestern Amateur tees off on Wednesday, June 16 for 72 holes of stroke play and concludes on Saturday, June 19.