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By The Numbers: Previewing the 55th Dogwood Invitational
06 Jun 2022
by Conner Penfold of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Dogwood Invitational, Druid Hills Golf Club

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The par-3 17th at Druid Hills Golf Club (Druid Hills photo)
The par-3 17th at Druid Hills Golf Club (Druid Hills photo)

Wednesday at Druid Hills. There is no doubt that the first tee shot, which will be taken this year by New Zealand mid-amateur Samuel Jones, rings in the start of the summer amateur season. The Dogwood's 55th running marks the fourth event since the Invitational moved from its traditional late June date, strategically positioning itself to be the first major amateur tournament following the NCAA Men's Golf Championship.

Eleven golfers who played all four stroke play rounds at Grayhawk's Raptor Course, including one who advanced to compete in the match play portion of the championship, will be on hand at Druid Hills. University of Oklahoma sophomore Stephen Campbell, Jr. leads that contingent, helping his Sooners into a three-way tie for first place in stroke play with two counting scores in rounds three and four after subbing in for Ben Lorenz. Campbell would go on to valiantly battle Arizona State senior Cameron Sisk in a 19-hole losing effort that was the game-winner for the Sun Devils.

RELATED: Round 1 Pairings

Bringing the Atlanta collegiate flavor to the field, as always, is Georgia Tech, represented by five current players including redshirt senior Bartley Forrester. His 68 in the final round at Grayhawk was the second lowest score of the day behind only Texas Tech's Sam Bennett's 64 and pushed him to a tied-for-15th place finish — the best among 2022 Dogwood contestants.

Forrester also owns the accolade of highest-ranked amateur in the field, a title he shares with Alabama senior Canon Claycomb as the two are tied in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings at No. 149. Forrester and Claycomb each have 2021-2022 collegiate season individual medalist honors to their name, with the Ramblin' Wreck golfer from Gainesville, Ga. tying for first with Florida's Fred Biondi at the Calusa Cup and the Crimson Tide golfer from Bowling Green, Ky. winning the Watersound Invitational by eight over Forrester's teammate Ross Steelman.

Top-250 Amateurs in 2022 Dogwood Invitational Field
149: Bartley Forrester
149: Canon Claycomb
153: Jye Pickin
158: Maxwell Ford
163: Kazuma Kobori
175: Nic Cassidy
192: Riley Lewis
205: Garrett Rank
215: Sam Jean
233: Stephen Behr
233: C.J. Easley
248: Tyler Wilkes

Three top-five finishers from last year's Dogwood are back looking to build on impressive performances at Druid Hills. Georgia Bulldog senior Nic Cassidy and Canadian mid-amateur Garrett Rank tied for second, just two behind champion Louis Dobbelaar. Cassidy's tournament finale concluded with a jaw-dropping 28 on the back nine for a Saturday 62 while Rank signed for a modest 68.

Tying for fourth was Furman University graduating senior Jack Crosby, whose sophomore teammate Will Morlan made nine birdies on a rainy, blustery day two weeks ago to win the Dogwood Open Qualifier by two.

This year, 72 players participated in the Open Qualifier, a segment of the event that bridges the gap between a true invitational and an open championship. Five other players earned their spot via qualifying, including one who survived a 4-for-1 playoff to secure the sixth and final spot.

2022 Dogwood Invitational Open Qualifiers
1 - Will Morlan (-7)
2 - Noah Connor (-5)
T3 - Matthew Kress (-2)
T3 - Caden Baker (-2)
T3 - Alex Heffner (-2)
T6 - Kent Hsiao (-1)

Longtime followers of the event know the consistent Australian/New Zealand presence that the tournament committee strives to maintain, and the vibes from down under are fresh coming off a marquee victory for the Queensland native Louis Dobbelaar.

Kazuma Kobori headlines the 2022 group, as he's widely considered the best New Zealander amateur in the world. Followed closely by Aussies Jye Pickin and Toby Walker, who are both inside the top-10 of Australia's Order of Merit.

Competitors and attendees won't notice much change to the golf course compared to the 2021 rendition, other than a couple minor tweaks. Though the Atlanta area has seen lower-than-normal precipitation this spring, putting Druid Hills in a position to be potentially more challenging than previous years.

"If we miss these pop-up thunderstorms in the afternoon, we will be pretty firm and fast," said Invitation Chair Andrew Saft. "If our course had a defense, it would be when it's firm and fast."

Saft, along with Tournament Chair Ed Klein, Head Golf Professional Brett Donnelly, Superintendent Joe Hollis, and many others are on the cusp of hosting another exceptional event. The Dogwood is known for its hospitality, and that goes beyond just the player experience at the golf club as members notoriously open their homes to tournament participants — just one of many aspects that makes the Dogwood marked in its character.

"I feel like this is a tournament where when someone comes and plays in it, they realize it's an event they don't want to miss," Saft said. "So we work hard on recruiting and then just shining during tournament week and making it a special experience."

ABOUT THE Dogwood Invitational

Tournament week is June 6-11 at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The entry fee includes breakfast and lunch tournament days as well 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 with the times, the modern Dogwood has produced fine champions like Webb Simpson (’07), Brian Harman (’09), Dawson Armstrong (’15), and in 2019 Brandon Mancheno. This evolution can be seen also in our course renovations and set-up, our relaxed tournament atmosphere, and our spirit of social responsibility.

Players are required to walk during tournament play and may carry their golf bag themselves (push carts are allowed) or take a caddie. Caddies may be requested in advance during registration, or players may select one on their own.

Player housing is provided on an as available basis to players only, caddies and traveling companions are not provided housing.

View Complete Tournament Information

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