Date: July 29, 2014
Author: Golf Australia

Big Aussie presence at Western Amateur

Whether they have been playing PGA Tour events, major championships or prestigious amateur tournaments, it has been a busy summer for players who will compete in the upcoming 112th Western Amateur at The Beverly Country Club, July 28-Aug. 2, on Chicago’s southwest side.

Australia boasts the biggest foreign contingent at the event including:

Taylor MacDonald (QLD), Anthony Murdaca (SA), Todd Sinnott (VIC), Ben Eccles (VIC), Geoff Drakeford (VIC), Dale Brandt-Richards (NSW), Jarryd Felton (WA), Jordan Zunic (NSW), Cory Crawford (QLD), Jarrod Freeman (NSW), Lucas Herbert (VIC), Curtis Luck (WA) and Simon Viitakangas (QLD).

The 156-man field features 50 of the world’s top 100 players, including 21 of the top 37, giving the Western Amateur the highest concentration of elite-level players of any event in the amateur game.

Earlier this month, defending Western Amateur champion Jordan Niebrugge made the most of a sponsor exemption he received at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, finishing in a tie for 27th with an aggregate score of 10-under par at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. In April, he played in the Masters.

And then there is China’s Tianlang Guan, who at 14 years old made the cut at the 2013 Masters. Guan will be making his first appearance at the Western Amateur after finishing T-28 at the Callaway Junior World on July 18 at Torrey Pines GC near San Diego.

A junior at Oklahoma State, Niebrugge will have his work cut out for him when it comes to defending his title.

The international field already includes players from 17 countries, including a dozen from Australia, by far the largest foreign contingent. Players from Argentina, China, Colombia, England, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe also have committed.

"The quality and depth of the Western Amateur field always is strong and deep, and we are pleased to be able to maintain the same level of excellence again this year,” Senior Vice President of the WGA Vince Pellegrino said. “Beverly is a classic Donald Ross course, and we expect the best amateurs in the world to embrace the challenge it presents.”