Southwestern Amateur: Leow, Banke lead Men, Whiston paces Women
Nicole Whiston (Tennessee Women's Golf photo)
The long-awaited Southwestern Amateur has returned. The 2021 historic stop at the Desert Mountain Outlaw Course showcased the continued strength of the men's championship along with the tournament's new women's division.
Wednesday’s first-round teed off with the men’s division and resulted in a runaway tie at eight-under between Arizona State sophomore James Leow and Arizona grad transfer Christian Banke. The in-state PAC-12 rivals fired incredible rounds of 63, with Leow pouring in six birdies on his back nine and Banke’s early eagle on the second hole jump-starting his round.
The pair’s incredible first day left plenty to chase after, amounting to a five-stroke lead ahead of a three-way tie for second between Brandon Hoff, Tony Chen and Blake Lorenz.
The Southwestern Amateur introduced its very first women’s division with a world-class field that also put up low scores in the triple digit desert heat.
University of Tennessee junior Nicole Whiston took the solo lead mid-afternoon with a first round two-under 69, carding the only round under 70 on the women’s leaderboard. Ami Gianchandani and Ching-Tzu Chen are Whiston’s closest challengers, tied for second at 1-under 70. Gianchandani’s two eagles shone in her first round campaign.
Round 2 of the 72-hole event gets underway Thursday.
ABOUT THE Southwestern Amateur
72-hole stroke play championship for national-
amateurs with a handicap index of
1.4 or better. After 36 holes, the field will be
cut to the low 40 and ties. The
SWGA Selection Committee will select players
compete based upon
exemptions, playing resume and rankings.
The SWGA reserves the right to invite
amateurs of national and international
reputation, as well as other amateurs "of
note", to enter into the tournament.
Applicants are urged to submit their entries
with golf resumes of accomplishment in
major tournaments and other competitive
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