Date: July 30, 2013
Author: Golf Australia / Western Amateur

Big Aussie contingent at US Western Amateur

LEADERBOARD A large contingent of eleven Australians are in the field for this week&aposs Western Amateur Championship which begins tonight at The Alotian Club outside Little Rock in Arkansas. 156 of the game s top amateurs will walk in the footsteps of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in an attempt to win one of the oldest and most prestigious titles in the non-professional game. Australians Nathan Holman (VIC), Jordan Zunic (NSW), Brett Drewitt (NSW), Geoff Drakeford (VIC), Oliver Goss (WA), Viraat Badhwar (QLD), Brady Watt (WA), Ruben Sondjaja (NSW), Aaron Wilkin (QLD), Taylor MacDonald (QLD) and Ricky Kato (NSW) will fly the flag in Arkansas. This year, the Western Amateur will feature 54 of the world s top 100 players compared to 40 last year when the field was ranked second-strongest in the world a fitting way for The Alotian Club to host its first major golf championship. The Western Amateur always gets an excellent field, but having 54 of the top 100 players from all over the world proves how highly regarded this championship is in the game of golf, said Vince Pellegrino, vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association. The 2013 Western Amateur will feature the world s top five amateurs. Three have made the cut in various PGA TOUR events. This year, contestants hail from 10 nations Australia, Denmark, England, Finland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, Venezuela and Wales. The Western Golf Association is thrilled once again to have top amateurs from all over the world playing in the Western Amateur, Pellegrino said. All of us are looking forward to seeing how the course plays against a field of such outstanding amateurs. This year will be the first time the Western Amateur has been contested in the state of Arkansas, and it is the first time since 1966 that it has been played in the South. It also is the first time The Alotian Club, which opened in 2005 and is ranked No. 15 in the country by Golf Digest, has hosted a major competition. Founded in the Chicago area in 1899, the Western Amateur brings with it the rich traditions of golf, symbolized most dramatically by its who s-who of past champions, including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange. The Western Amateur s 156-man field consistently ranks among the top three in the world along with the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur. The Alotian Club is ranked No. 15 on Golf Digest&aposs biennial ranking of “America&aposs 100 Greatest Golf Courses.”It also was named by Golf Digest as the best new private course in the country in 2005. Widely renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio designed the course.The course measures 7,480 yards from the championship tees, plays 6,780 yards from member tees and 5,385 yards from forward tees. The course s signature trait is elevation change, the most dramatic coming at the sixth hole with a 100-foot drop from the tee to green. For The Alotian Club, hosting the 111th Western Amateur championship will provide a high-profile platform to showcase the course s beauty and challenging design while also highlighting the club s support of caddies and the WGA s Evans Scholars Foundation, which grants college scholarships to deserving caddies. Caddies are an integral part of the history and tradition of golf. That&aposs why I wanted a caddie program at The Alotian Club, said Warren Stephens, The Alotian Club’s founder. Since 1930 the Evans Scholarship Program has sent 10,000 caddies to college, including three from The Alotian Club two currently at Northwestern University and one at Marquette University. Hosting a first-class competition and supporting scholarships for caddies made the decision to welcome the Western Amateur to Arkansas an easy one.”