GOLF, IL (July 24, 2012) – An international field of 156 elite amateur golfers will gather at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, July 30-Aug. 4, to compete in the 110th playing of the Western Amateur.
Golf fans are invited to attend the championship and see “the future of golf.” Admission is free.
Six of the world’s top 10 amateurs are in the field, including four of the top six:
· No. 1 - Bobby Wyatt – University of Alabama junior; winner 2012 Sunnehanna Amateur; finished 2nd at the Southern Amateur; 2nd at 2012 Players Amateur; 2012 First-Team All SEC; 2nd place in 2012 NCAA Southeast Regional; 2nd place 2012 SEC Championship; at the age of 17 shot an incredible 14-under par 57 at the Alabama Boys State Championship at the par 71 Country Club of Mobile on July 30, 2010; home is Mobile, Alabama.
· No. 3 – Patrick Rodgers – Stanford University sophomore; one of three finalists for the 2012 Ben Hogan Award; 2012 Ping First-Team All-American; 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year; T-9 in 2012 NCAA Championship; 2012 Palmer Cup team member; 3rd place in 2012 Porter Cup, where he was defending champion; 2011 Walker Cup team member; made 2011 Western Amateur’s Sweet 16; winner 2010 Western Junior Championship; played on sponsor invitations in the 2012 Travelers Championship and the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour; home is Avon, Indiana.
· No. 5 – Chris Williams – University of Washington senior; 2012 Ping First-Team All-American; 2012 First-Team All-Pac-12; member 2012 Palmer Cup team; winner 2012 Washington state amateur; T-2 at the 2012 Sahalee Players Championship; winner of 2012 NCAA Southwest Regional; medalist at the 2011 Western Amateur; home is Moscow, Idaho.
· No. 6 – Justin Thomas – University of Alabama sophomore; made the cut at the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic; winner of the 2012 Haskins Award for top college golfer; winner of the 2012 Jack Nicklaus Award for D-1 Player of the Year; winner of the 2012 Phil Mickelson Award for most outstanding college freshman; 2012 Ping First-Team All-American; medalist in the 2012 SEC Championship; 2012 SEC Player of the Year; 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year; home is Goshen, Kentucky.
· No 8 - Corey Whitsett – University of Alabama junior; 2012 Ping Second-Team All-American; 2012 First-Team All-SEC; recipient of the 2012 NCAA Elite 89 Award (highest cumulative GPA participating at the finals site of the NCAA Championship, earned a 3.94 GPA, majoring in Management); tied for fourth at 2012 NCAA Championship; 3rd place at 2012 NCAA Southeast Regional; T-11 at the 2012 SEC Championship; home is Houston, Texas.
· No. 10 - Matt Stieger – 21-year-old native of New South Wales, Australia; made it to the quarterfinals of the 2012 British Amateur; T-2 at the 2012 South Australia Amateur Classic; T-4 at the 2012 Scottish Open Amateur; T-12 in the 2012 Master of the Amateurs in Australia.
The field features more than 40 of the top 100 amateurs in the world, making the Western Amateur among the top three-ranked amateur golf events in the world.
“As always, the quality and depth of the Western Amateur field is outstanding,” said Vince Pellegrino, vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association, which has conducted the event since 1899. “Three of the top five amateurs in the world, including Patrick Rodgers, our guest today, just finished their freshman years in college and already have played in PGA Tour events.”
The field includes players from 34 states and 11 countries, including the U.S., Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Stieger leads a reliably competitive Australian contingent, which also includes Jake Higginbottom, Cameron Smith, and Daniel Nisbet, who recently beat Wyatt in the Players Amateur.
Another Washington player, sophomore Cheng-Tsung Pan, was Western Amateur medalist in 2009 and 2010. Last year, he advanced to the semifinals in match play. A native of Taiwan, he was named second-team All-American at Washington this past year.
The Western Amateur first visited Exmoor in 1904, when H.C. Egan emerged victorious, and returned in 1952, when Frank Stranahan won his fourth Western Amateur title.
“Exmoor Country Club, one of our charter members, has been among the earliest and most steadfast supporters of our championships and the Evans Scholars program,” Pellegrino said. “It’s a classic course with a rich tournament history, and we believe it will provide a challenging test.”
Exmoor also hosted the Western Junior in 1917 and 1998. Five current Evans Scholars and 52 Evans Alumni caddied at Exmoor Country Club. Also, More than 300 Exmoor members are playing a variety of roles in organizing the 2012 Western Amateur.