At AmateurGolf.com, we are always looking for new tournaments to recommend to our members and readers.
Whether you are an am, mid-am, senior, or super senior, man or woman, there was something exciting added to the calendar in 2021. Here are some of the year's best new tournaments to consider adding to your playing schedule.
CITRUS GOLF TRAIL LADIES INVITATIONAL
Sun 'n Lake Golf & Country Club, Sebring, Fla.
The tournament is the resurrection of the Harder Hall Invitational, one of the most storied women's amateur majors on the calendar. Played since 1956, the tournament has a star-studded list of past champions, including world #1 Nelly Korda; Hall-of-Famer Joanne Carner; LPGA stars Christie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Lewis and Charley Hull; amateur legends Carol Semple Thompson and Meghan Stasi; and two members of the winning 2021 Curtis Cup Team, Emilia Migliaccio and Gina Kim.
But when Harder Hall Country Club closed permanently in the spring of 2021, a community effort spearheaded by the Citrus Golf Trail, Visit Sebring, and Airstream Adventures rallied to save the event and keep the tradition alive with a new name and rotation of host courses. This will be the last tournament of the year, finishing up on New Year's eve.
"It is exciting for the entire golf community to rally around this event and write the next chapter of its history with all members of the Citrus Golf Trail," said Sun 'N Lake head professional Andy Kesling.
More information about the Citrus Golf Trail Ladies Invitational
TWO MAN LINKS AND FATHER-SON AT SAND VALLEY
Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa, Wisc.
20 years after introducing Two Man Links Championship, the longest-running amateur event at the bucket-list destination of Bandon Dunes, AmateurGolf.com took the concept to Mike Keiser's second Dream Golf property, the equally-linksy and inspiring Sand Valley Golf Resort.
The tournament is 54-holes of four-ball stroke play, played over the Mammoth and Sand Valley courses, with Skins games played on the quirky and fun Sandbox 17-hole short course.
The tournament includes a Father & Son division with gross and net prizes within the division as well as eligibility for the overall gross and net championship titles. As of press time, there are still a small number of team spots open for the 2022 tournament.
More information about the Two Man Links at Sand Valley
SOUTHWESTERN WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Desert Mountain Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz.
For the first 105 years, the Southwestern Amateur was a men's-only event that attracted some of the nation's finest amateur players. In 2021, after a one-year pandemic delay, the tournament took a major step to help expand the game by introducing a women's championship for the nation's top female amateurs.
John Ranslem, executive director of the Southwestern Golf Association which conducts the event, said the change in format was made "after careful consideration of changes in the game, and the recognition of the increasing impact that women are having on the game."
In its first year, the Southwestern Women's Amateur had one of the strongest fields of any women's amateur major, with Ching-Tzu Chen (Taiwan, University of Oregon) winning by one shot after shooting a 72-hole score of even par on the Outlaw Course at Desert Mountain.
The tournament hopes to take that momentum into 2022 as the tournament enters its 107th year, and the second year hosting both the top men and women amateur golfers. Applications will be taken starting January 1.
More information about the Southwestern Women's Amateur
DEVIL'S ELBOW MID-AMATEUR INVITATIONAL
Punta Cana Resort, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This is the rare event that mixes a family-friendly atmosphere with serious high-level competition, and a PGA Tour berth at stake.
The breathtaking Punta Cana resort on the eastern shores of the Dominican Republic is an inspiring host for the newest major mid-amateur championship. The "Devil's Elbow" is the name for the three-hole finishing stretch at Corales Golf Club at Punta Cana, running along and over the crashing waves of the Caribbean.
The winner of the inaugural event was Jeronimo Esteve, who was also the Crump Cup medalist and Carlton Woods Invitational champ in 2021. His reward is a start in the PGA Tour's 2022 Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.
More information about the Devil's Elbow Invitational
JACKSON T. STEPHENS CUP
Alotian Golf Club, Roland, Ark.
This college tournament was created in honor of Jackson T. Stephens, the late Augusta National Chairman who was instrumental in the creation of the Alotian Club in Arkansas.
12 of the top men's and women's teams compete for the Stephens Cup, with GOLF CHANNEL providing live, three-day coverage of the event. Notre Dame and LSU were the inaugural men's and women's champions
“Our goal is to create a distinctive and highly-competitive collegiate tournament that is comprised of tomorrow’s PGA TOUR and LPGA stars playing some of the country’s premier golf courses,” said tournament chairman Warren Stephens. “Dad truly believed that golf instilled life lessons and built character, especially when started young. Therefore, he would be very humbled and proud that this tournament is named in his honor.”
More information about the Jackson T. Stephens Cup
WOMEN'S LATIN AMERICA AMATEUR
Pilar Golf Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Created by the R&A and the ANNIKA Foundation, this championship aims to continue the expansion of high-level amateur golf into different parts of the world. It follows in the footsteps of the Latin America Amateur and the Men's and Women's Asia-Pacific Amateurs, all of which offer exemptions into professional majors for the champions.
A total of 16 countries were represented in the inaugural event, including Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela and Virgin Islands. Valery Plata of Colombia and Michigan State University was the inaugural winner, earning trips to the 2022 British Women's Open and the 2022 Evian Championship.
More information about the Women's Latin America Amateur
REYNOLDS SENIOR INVITATIONAL
Reynolds Lake Oconee - Great Waters, Eatonton, Ga.
As if the state of Georgia didn't have enough senior golf -- the senior rankings are filled with Peach Staters like recent USGA champs Doug Hanzel and Bob Royak, and players like Rusty Strawn, Billy Mitchell, Allen Peake and Jack Hall -- along comes another senior major at an epic venue.
The Reynolds Senior Invitational replaces the Geranium Senior on the majors calendar, and takes place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee, which recently underwent an 18-month renovation a the hands of Nicklaus Design.
Strawn won the inaugural event by a shot with a 3-under total, with John Dennis (Super Senior), Don Marsh (Legends), and Charlie Busbee (Grand Master) taking the other divisions.
More information about the Reynolds Senior Invitational
SEA ISLAND WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course, St. Simons Island, Ga.
Patterned after the highly successful Jones Cup Invitational tournament at nearby Ocean Forest Golf Club, the Women’s Amateur follows the Jones Cup tradition of drawing the nation’s best female golfers to the world-class setting of Sea Island.
The experience of running the Jones Cup gave the inaugural event an established feel. “It definitely didn’t feel like a first-time event,” said the winner Hannah Levi (D'Iberville, Miss.; Mississippi State University). “It felt top-notch. It wasn’t like they were trying to work out the kinks. They were very prepared.”
The tournament continues the trend of creating more high-level amateur golf opportunities for top women players. “Seeing women given more credit for their golf and the work they put in, that’s great,” said Levi. “I think everybody is really excited about where the game is headed.”
More information about the Sea Island Women's Amateur
TRANS MISSISSIPPI JUNIOR-SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, N.C.
The Trans-Mississippi Golf Association, who has conducted championships since 1901, introduced a new championship to its lineup in 2021.
The Junior-Senior Championship debuted at the Pinehurst Resort and allowed mid-amateurs to team up with seniors in 54-hole four-ball competition. The Houston team of Jimmy Burke and Chad Spencer were the winners.
The tournament will rotate to sites across the country, with the 2022 event to be played at the Ventana Canyon Golf Club in Tucson. As with the other Trans-Miss championships, the Junior-Senior supports the Trans-Miss Turf Scholarship Fund, which for over 50 years has supported men and women pursuing careers in turf management.
More information about the Trans-Mississippi Junior-Senior Championship
U.S. Mid-Amateur Team Championship
Formerly known as the Midwest Cup, this event aims to provide mid-amateurs the chance to represent their home state. The tournament is expanding rapidly, growing from 20 to 36 men's state teams and adding a women's tournament with 20 state teams.
Patriot All-America Women's Invitational
One of the truly unique and special events in college/amateur golf is adding a women's division in 2021. The Patriot All-America honors fallen or severely wounded soldiers in partnership with the Folds of Honor Foundation. The golfers receive a golf bag at the event’s opening ceremony emblazoned with the name and branch of service of a fallen or injured military member whom they shall represent. Participants also receive a card with the soldier’s story so they can be familiar with that soldier. The golf bags are then sold with proceeds donated to Folds of Honor to support the families affected.
Cullan Brown Invitational
This tournament for high school and college players is played in honor of Cullan Brown, the University of Kentucky player who passed away in August of 2020, following a nearly year-long battle with cancer. Proceeds benefit The Cullan Brown Memorial West Kentucky Junior Golf Development Fund. The Cullan Brown Award is presented to a player based on sportsmanship, playing ability, integrity, friendship, and love of the game.
The Northern Ohio Golf Association (NOGA) created its first-ever Ryder Cup-style event, and named it after local legend and Walker Cup player and captain Robert C. Lewis Jr., who passed away earlier in 2021 after a bout with cancer. Lewis passed not long after after receiving the Bob Jones award, the highest honor the United States Golf Association can give. He was inducted into the Ohio Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and the NOGA Hall of Fame in 2003.
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