Perhaps it only makes sense that the major amateur
summer schedule begins in the state of Georgia, since the professional major
season traditionally opens in the Peach State as well.
While the Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf
Club is the first professional major each year,
the Dogwood Invitational at Druid Hills Golf Club
in Atlanta kicks off a busy summer at the amateur level just a week following the
completion of the college season.
“In my opinion, yeah. That makes it even more exciting,”
said Brandon Mancheno
, who will be defending his title this week. “I know for me, it ramps up my summer schedule. I’m really looking forward to it. The golf
course is great. It’s a really good field. You can’t be off
your game at all. You have to score really well to win.”
The Dogwood could not be played last June due to the
Covid-19 pandemic, which made for some eerily quiet
days at the private course when tournament week
Now a full year later, event staff and Druid Hills members are more
than ready to host this tradition-rich invitational which
dates back to 1941 and will be played for the 54th time
“There’s a lot of pent-up energy,” said Ed Klein, a co-chair for the Dogwood. “It’s been well-supported by our
membership. We have a lot of people looking to play.
We’re going to have one of the biggest qualifiers we’ve
ever had. There’s a lot of interest to play. So many kids
missed having the opportunity to play last year.”
The players will find a course ready to challenge them
yet reward good shots as they make their away around
the par-72 track. Druid Hills is a classic layout designed
in 1912 that stretches 6,947 yards from the back tees and
features reachable par-5 holes that demand accuracy on
the approach shots because of the green structures.
“I played Saturday, and the kids who are coming are
going to find the golf course to be in excellent
condition,” Klein said. “It’s a great time of year with our
bermuda fairways and rough and bentgrass greens.
“All the greens are in perfect condition. The putting
surfaces are going to be in tournament condition. The
lies in the fairways are going to be perfect. Our course
superintendent Joe Hollis has done a great job with the
course to have it ready.
“It’s going to be fair. A golfer playing well will have a
chance to shoot a good score, and the kids have told us
they like that. If they aren’t playing well, they will know
it. But, we love seeing good play, and if you play well,
you’re going to be rewarded.”
The tournament once again has attracted a
field made up of top junior, collegiate, mid-amateur and
senior players from around the country and beyond who
will battle it out for a title that stands out on a resume.
As many as 32 different colleges and universities will be
represented with players from each of the Power-5
conferences in college golf competing in the invitational.
Tournament officials are also proud to have four players
representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities
in this year’s field.
“It’s a very diverse field, whether you’re talking about
race, age or nationalities. It’s incredibly diverse, which
we are excited about,” Klein stressed.
The tournament features three past champions
including Mancheno who played at Auburn when he
won two years ago
but has since transferred to North
Florida located in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla.
Mancheno was one of four players two years ago to
post four scores in the 60s as he shot 21-under-par 267
(69-68-65-65) for a one-shot victory.
“I played OK the first couple of rounds, didn’t get too far
behind,” Mancheno said Sunday after a practice round
at home before leaving for Atlanta on Monday. “The last
two days, my ball-striking was great, my putting was just
really good and I hit a lot of fairways.
The round of 2019, however, and indeed the history of the Dogwood Invitational, was turned in by Alex Ross
of Davidson College, who shot an unbelievable 15-under 57
in the third round.
Related: Tournament Talk: Alex Ross' 57 at the Dogwood Invitational
Mancheno hasn’t played many competitive rounds in
recent months since transferring to North Florida for the
spring semester. He underwent some swing changes at
the same time and played in only one event with the
Ospreys this season.
“I may be a little rusty, but I’m expecting to play well,”
The other former Dogwood winners competing again
are Ashton Poole
, the 2018 champion who played at
Virginia and Georgia State in Atlanta, and 2014 champion Trey Rule
, who played for Mercer University
in Macon, Ga.
Notable international names who could contend this
week are 2020 Latin America Amateur champion Abel
from Argentina who played in the 2020
Masters, and 2021 Australian Amateur winner Louis
from Brookwater, Australia.
Among the mid-amateurs to watch are Canadian Garrett
, the fourth-ranked player in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Amateur Rankings
, and Louisiana resident Derek Busby
, who comes in as No. 13.
Rank, a NHL hockey referee, won the 2019 Western
Amateur at age 31, becoming the first mid-amateur to
win this top-tier tournament in more than 20 years.
from Alpharetta, Gla., will be playing close to
home and will be one of the oldest players in the field at
age 59. But, he will be someone to keep an eye on at the
start of the tournament. He is currently ranked fifth
among U.S. senior players and recently won the Georgia
Mid-Amateur Championship in late May. Royak won the U.S.
Senior Amateur in 2019 and also the Jones Cup Senior
Invitational at Sea Island (Ga.) in 2020.
Those tracking the tournament should also watch for
from Peachtree Corners, Ga., who will be
one of the youngest players competing at Druid Hills.
Ranked in the top 15 in junior golf, Ford is headed to
play for the University of Georgia in the fall. He qualified
for the 2019 U.S. Amateur, recorded a top-15 finish at
the last two Jones Cup Invitationals at Ocean Forest on
Sea Island and placed third at the 2020 Georgia Amateur
held at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
A unique aspect of the Dogwood is that Druid Hills
members who win the club’s premier annual events are
extended invites to play in the tournament. Those
events include the club championship - the top four
finishers are actually offered invitations - the match-play
championship and also the Dogwood Scholarship
tournament, a special event formed to raise money for
the invitational’s charitable givings.
The Dogwood’s long list of former champions includes
current PGA Tour players such as Webb Simpson, Brian
Harman and Hudson Swafford. Other past participants
include stars in the game like Justin Thomas, Matt
Kuchar and Dustin Johnson.
The tournament always partners with its sponsors to
raise funds and awareness to benefit junior golf. The
Georgia Junior Golf Association and the Druid Hills Golf
Club Foundation are the beneficiaries each year.
The Dogwood helps Georgia Junior Golf expand its
programs throughout metro Atlanta while the Druid
Hills Golf Club Foundation sponsors the Reynolds
Scholarship which goes to qualified junior golfers to help
pay for their college education.
Tournament festivities kick off Monday morning with
the Open Qualifier, a last-chance 18-hole affair featuring
some 90 players who will compete for the final eight
spots in the field for the 72-hole tournament proper
which will be Wednesday through Saturday.
Practice rounds are Monday afternoon and all day
>> LIVE SCORING
ABOUT THE Dogwood Invitational
Tournament week is June 6-11 at Druid Hills Golf
Atlanta, Georgia. The entry fee includes breakfast
tournament days as
as special events.
The history of this prestigious event extends back to
1941, when legendary amateur Tommy Barnes
captured his first of five Dogwood titles. Evolving
the times, the modern Dogwood has produced fine
champions like Webb Simpson (’07), Brian Harman
(’09), Dawson Armstrong (’15), and in 2019 Brandon
seen also in our course renovations and set-up, our
relaxed tournament atmosphere, and our spirit of
Players are required to walk during tournament play
and may carry their golf bag themselves (push
allowed) or take a caddie. Caddies may be requested
in advance during registration, or players may
one on their own.
Player housing is provided on an as available basis to
, caddies and traveling
companions are not
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