The strongest field in men’s Amateur golf assembled this year has gathered at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois, for the Western Amateur, which begins tonight (AEST)
The world’s third oldest amateur championship behind The Amateur Championship (1885) and the U.S. Amateur (1895), The Western Am regularly attracts the game’s brightest young stars. This year is no exception, with the entire top 10 on the Official World Amateur Golf Rankings playing in the event.
This year’s field also includes a six-strong NSW Contingent amongst the 13 Australians who are also vying for their chance to put their name alongside Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as winners of the Western Amateur.
Harrison Endycott, the highest ranked Australian in the field this week, is beginning to show the signs of form he displayed last year when claiming victory in an impressive four major titles in a row.
The 21-year-old knows his game is close to its best and he will draw some inspiration out of his defence of his Porter Cup title in Buffalo, New York two weeks ago where he finished 13th after a first round four under par 66. He feels his game is peaking and he is impressed with the Skokie Country Club course.
“This is easily one of the best course I have played,” Endycott said. “My game feels sharp, and I can’t wait for the tournament to begin.”
Shellharbour’s Travis Smyth will also be looking to continue his good form after finishing in fourth place at the Porter Cup. Smyth is impressed with the course and can’t wait for play to get underway.
“All I can say is this track is now among my top five courses I've ever played. I’m looking forward to competing this week,” Smyth said.
Aberdeen’s Dylan Perry game continues to improve; the 22-year-old qualified in emphatic fashion for this month’s US Amateur with an impressive 8-under par total to win his qualifying section in North Carolina.
"My game is OK; This course is in unreal condition. the rough is super thick, and it's going to test everyone out," Perry said.
Canberra’s Josh Armstrong comes into the week following his fifth place finish in the medal rounds of the US Junior Boys and fresh from the Golf Australia High-Performance Camp in Houston Texas. The Lakes Golf Club representative still sits inside the all-important top 10 mark for qualification for this years’ Junior Presidents Cup side.
Ruben Sondjaja, the former NSW State Junior representative and Bonnie Doon Golf Club member, has just completed an impressive college career at Iowa State University that included four top-10 finishes in his senior year and a Cleveland/Srixon All-American Scholar award.
Newcastle’s Blake Windred will be hoping for a strong showing this week. The 19-year-old is the first alternate for the upcoming US Amateur and will be seeking to finish his trip to the United States on a high. He too had a few days at the High Performance camp in Texas and is remains optimistic of getting a start at Riviera.
“It was great to touch up a few areas of my game at the HP Camp and work with our Physiotherapist, Matt Green,”Windred said. “It would be a great experience to play a US Open course, especially with my mate Shae (Wools-Cobb) getting a call up as he was also on the reserve list like me.”