2013 Western Amateur To Bring Rich History, Elite Fields To The Alotian Club
World's Finest Amateurs to be Challenged at One of the Nation's Premier Courses
Many of the world's most talented and accomplished amateur golfers - some no doubt destined for the PGA Tour - will descend up on The Alotian Club this summer, July 29-Aug. 4, as the prestigious Western Amateur makes its debut in the state of Arkansas.
Founded in the Chicago area in 1899, the 111th Western Amateur will bring 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, Curtis Strange and Alotian Club member Steve Melynk.
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. Contestants come from all over the globe. Last year's field included players from 34 states and 11 countries, including the U.S., Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa.
"The quality and depth of the Western Amateur field always is outstanding, and we expect to maintain that level of excellence again this year," said Vince Pellegrino, vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association, which conducts the championship. "Once the players discover the beauty and challenge of The Alotian Club, they're going to be even more excited to be competing in such a prestigious championship."
In addition to attracting international players, the 2013 championship will have a strong local flavor with five Arkansas residents already in the field, among them: former Western Amateur champion Patrick Lee (1995) of Centerton; Austin Cook and Joe Doramus, both members of the Arkansas Razorbacks golf team; Little Rock's Alex Carpenter, a golf team member at Abilene Christian in Texas, and Mark Bartlett, an accomplished Arkansas amateur. Former Arkansas Razorback Ethan Tracy won the 2011 Western Amateur and has since turned professional.
Although the entry deadline is still nearly three months away (June 21), a number of accomplished players already have committed to play. Among them are: University of Washington star Cheng-Tsung Pan of Taiwan, the Western Amateur stroke-play medalist in 2009 and 2010, who made three consecutive Sweet 16s; University of North Florida's Sean Dale, who made last year's Sweet 16 and recently won the Jones Cup, and LSU's Curtis Thompson, whose brother, Nicholas, has played on the PGA Tour and sister, Lexi, plays on the LPGA Tour.
Opened in 2004, The Alotian Club is ranked No. 14 on Golf Digest's biennial ranking of "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses." The course was built by Little Rock businessman Warren Stephens and was identified by Golf Digest as the best new private course in the country in 2005. Widely renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio designed the course.
"One of the hallmarks of the Western Amateur - and why elite players love it - is that it is played on truly exceptional golf courses," Pellegrino said. "Playing the championship at the Alotian Club this year will continue that tradition."
The course measures 7,480 yards from the championship tees; it plays 6,780 yards from member tees and 5,385 yards from forward tees. The course's signature trait is elevation changes, with 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's why I wanted a caddie program at The Alotian Club," Stephens explained. "Since 1930 the Chick Evans Scholarship Program has sent 10,000 caddies to college, including two from The Alotian Club who are attending Northwestern University today. Hosting a first class competition and supporting scholarships for caddies made the decision to welcome the Western Amateur to Arkansas an easy one."
First conducted in 1899 at the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, the Western Amateur championship has from its inception been regarded as one of the major amateur golf events in the world. Only the British Amateur (1885) and the U.S. Amateur (1895) are older.
While today's Western Amateur is among the elite events of the current era, the tournament's rich heritage connects today's players with many of the all-time greats of the game. With more than a century of history, the Amateur's roster of past champions and participants reads like a Who's Who of American golf.
Past champions include such venerable names as eight-time winner Charles "Chick" Evans Jr., Francis Ouimet, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Andy North, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Scott Verplank, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Ryan Moore and Tiger Woods. Runners up and stroke-play medalists include such current and former PGA TOUR players as Ben Curtis, Jason Gore, Jay Haas, Tom Kite, Rocco Mediate, Gil Morgan, Mark O'Meara, Chris Riley, Camilo Villegas, and Tom Watson. The legendary Bobby Jones was stroke play medalist in 1920.
Posted April 16, 2013 || Viewed 5,563 times