Event to watch: 108th Western Amateur

No. 18 at Skokie Country Club

The Western Amateur is on the docket this week, so get your brackets ready and make some picks.

Notable winners of the Western Amateur

• Danny Lee (2008)

• Jamie Lovemark (2005)

• Ryan Moore (2004)

• Tiger Woods (1994)

• Justin Leonard (1992, ’93)

• Chris DiMarco (1998)

• Phil Mickelson (1991)

• Scott Verplank (1985)

• Hal Sutton (1979, ’80)

• Bob Clampett (1978)

• Curtis Strange (1974)

• Ben Crenshaw (1973)

• Andy North (1971)

• Lanny Wadkins (1970)

• Tom Weiskopf (1963)

• Jack Nicklaus (1961)

• Tommy Aaron (1960)

• Mason Rudolph (1956)

• Eddie Merrins (1955)

• Charlie Coe (1950)

• Frank Stanahan (1946, ’49, ’51-52)

• “Chick” Evans (1920-23)

• Frances Ouimet (1917)

 Western Amateur

  • Course: Skokie Country Club
  • City: Glencoe, Ill.
  • Yardage: 7,090
  • Par: 71
  • Format: Four rounds of stroke play (Tuesday-Thursday) with the top 16 players advancing to match play. Round of 16 and quarterfinals played on Friday. Semifinals and finals will be played on Saturday.
  • Round 1 begins: Tuesday
  • Weather forecast: Scattered thunderstorms for Tuesday, but sunny the rest of the week.
  • 2009 champion: John Hahn
  • Why you should watch: The Western Amateur has been around longer than the Oakland Raiders . . . over 100 years! This is now the 108th Western Amateur, and it will be a great preview for what we may see at the U.S. Amateur. The Western may be the hardest test in golf. When you think about it, the Western is two tournaments in one. First, players fight for 16 spots, then play up to four rounds of match play. That’s eight rounds of golf in only five days. People always want to look at the U.S. Amateur as the cream of the crop, but I go with the Western.
  • Wildman’s pick: Bud Cauley. With several of the “big names” winning this summer (Uihlein, Tway, Chung, Yun and Hudson), it’s time for another star to step up. Cauley hasn’t played that bad this summer. He finished fifth at the Southern Amateur, T-18 at the Players and T-20 at the Jones Cup. If Cauley can find his way in to the top 16, he can get the job done.
  • Sleeper pick: Henrik Norlander. We haven’t seen much of Norlander this summer, but I don’t think that will matter. He was in contention for the individual crown of the NCAA Championship at The Honors Course, but fell victim to an amazing final round by Illinois’ Scott Langley. Norlander finished fifth in the individual race, but went undefeated in his matches helping Augusta State win its first national championship. Norlander has an excellent short game and plays at a quick pace. I think his “speed” on the course will make his opponents uncomfortable and his pace of play may be an advantage to him winning the tournament.
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