Preview: 2014 Western Amateur at The Beverly CC
Monday, July 28, 2014
The 112th Western Amateur Championship is set to take place Tuesday-Saturday at The Beverly Country Club in Chicago. Here is a breakdown of the tournament:
WHO: 156-player field, 6 top-20 players from the World Amateur Golf Rankings, including defending champion Jordan Niebrugge (No. 10)
WHEN: July 29-Aug. 2
- Tuesday: First round, stroke play
- Wednesday: Second round, stroke play (cut to low 44 and ties)
- Thursday: Third round, stroke play, 36 holes (cut to low 16)
- Friday: Round of 16, quarterfinals of match play
- Saturday: Semifinals, final of match play
WHERE: The Beverly Country Club, Chicago (par 71, 7,016-yards). This is the first time since 1930 that the Western Amateur will be played at “The Bev,” a Donald Ross design.
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Players to watch
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE: Name any Australian in the field this week and they have just as good a chance as anyone to win the title this year. Geoff Drakeford, 22, is coming off his biggest amateur victory to date at the Porter Cup on July 26. Ben Eccles, 19, is playing in the U.S. for the first time and has had success rather quickly tying for fourth at the Porter Cup. Dale Brandt-Richards was another name toward the top of the leaderboard at Niagara Falls Country Club, while Curtis Luck was a semifinalist at last week’s U.S. Junior Amateur before losing to eventual winner Will Zalatoris.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Jordan Niebrugge is looking to become the first player since Justin Leonard to win back-to-back titles in 1992-93. Earlier this month, the rising Oklahoma State junior tied for 27th at the John Deere Classic. The Western Amateur is arguably one of the most grueling formats in amateur golf. It’s possible to play 144 holes in five days before the champion is crowned. Just another reason why it has the highest concentration of elite-level players in any event in the amateur game this year.
YOUNG NAMES, BIG GAMES: Some of the stars of tomorrow are competing in Chicago this week. Tianlang Guan, who made the cut at the Masters in 2013 at age 14, is playing in his first Western Amateur. Scottie Scheffler, an incoming freshman at Texas, won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur while also winning this year’s Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. Don’t forget about Andy Zhang either: He was a quarterfinalist last week at the Junior Amateur and was the youngest player to play in the U.S. Open in 2012.
A PREDICTION: Beau Hossler. He finished T-4 at the Southern Amateur and finished T-2 at the Porter Cup in the last two weeks, so you know he’s playing at the highest level of golf and pretty well at that. A week prior to his Southern Amateur start, Hossler captured the Southern California Amateur Championship for the second consecutive year. No. 56 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Hossler reached the round of 16 at last year's Western before losing to Texas teammate Kramer Hickok. If fatigue doesn’t wear him out, be on the look out for Hossler.