Western Amateur week gets underway with 7 spot open qualifier
Playoff winners Dawson Ovard, Grant Haefner, and Tyler Isenhart
It's Western Amateur week in Illinois.
The world's third-oldest amateur golf tournament and one of the most difficult titles to win will get underway on August 2 at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park.
As exempt and invited players were preparing their games for the big week ahead, a field of eager competitors teed it up at a public course in the same town, hoping to earn one of the seven spots in the field.
Ty Gingerich and Clay Stirsman (both of Carmel, Indiana) posted 6-under 66's to take the first two of seven spots. Neil Shipley of Pittsburgh and Clay Mcmackin of Irvine, Calif. both shot 67's to take the next two.
That left five players who tied at 4-under 68 battling it out for the final three spots, and we have a video below of the playoff action -- always the most nerve-wracking but fun part of any qualifier.
Grant Haefner of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, knocked his approach shot stiff on the short par-4 opening hole at Sunset Valley to lock his spot with a tap-in birdie.
"I said in the fairway, let's just man up and get close," said Haefner. "I had a good number and I guess I executed the best of the day right there when it mattered."
It will be Haefner's first Western Amateur appearance.
Dawson Ovard of Texas (who has played one Western previously) was within a few feet and converted. Tyler Isenhart of Geneva, IL, the third player to advance, made a 12-foot downhill putt that perfectly curled over the front edge.
All seven players will join an elite field at Exmoor Country Club for the 120th playing of the Western Amateur on Tuesday, August 2. We will have coverage for you all week, and the Golf Channel will stream the final two days when match play begins for the "Sweet 16."
View results for Western Amateur Qualifier
ABOUT THE Western Amateur Qualifier
Open qualifier for 7 spots in the Western
being played August 2-6 at Exmoor Country
Highland Park, Illinois
View Complete Tournament Information