Preview: Bozelli, Liu highlight New Year's Invitational

Jim Liu of the United States Team tees off of the seventh hole during the morning foursomes for the 8th Junior Ryder Cup at Olympia Fields Country Club on September 24, 2012 in Olympia Fields, Illinois.

Jim Liu of the United States Team tees off of the seventh hole during the morning foursomes for the 8th Junior Ryder Cup at Olympia Fields Country Club on September 24, 2012 in Olympia Fields, Illinois.

A look at the New Year's Invitational, which is slated to begin on Thursday in Florida.

• • •

New Year’s Invitational

Jan. 3-6, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Country Club

Notables in the field: Dominic Bozelli, Auburn All-American; Lee McCoy, 2012 AJGA first-team All-American; Toni Hakula, member of Texas’ NCAA title team; Jim Liu, No. 2 in Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings; Michael Miller, No. 28 in the R&A World Amateur Ranking; Jack Maguire, 2012 AJGA second-team All-American.

The skinny: As the name would imply, this is the first major amateur event of the year. This year’s field is highlighted by two players – Jim Liu and Michael Miller (read feature here) – who participated in last month’s training session for the U.S. Walker Cup team. While winning this event wouldn’t vault an otherwise unknown player into consideration for the squad, it definitely would strengthen the candidacies of Liu or Miller. Liu was runner-up here last year, losing on the first hole of a three-way playoff; Garland Green outlasted Stephan Jaeger, a first-team All-American at Chattanooga, on the sixth extra hole. Miller finished 22nd here last year. Past winners include Bob Goalby (1968 Masters champion), Buddy Alexander (1986 U.S. Amateur champion), Ryuji Imada, J.B. Holmes, Brandt Snedeker, Jeff Overton and Peter Uihlein. Holmes, Overton and Uihlein are recent winners who participated in the Walker Cup after winning at St. Petersburg Country Club. Brandon Hagy, who also participated in the Walker Cup practice session, is the 2011 champion.

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