BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The best amateur golfers in the world are in southwest Michigan for the 117th Western Amateur.
It begins Tuesday morning with the first round at Point O’Woods Golf and Country Club near Benton Harbor.
“This place has a lot of history. I think it’s been here 38 years straight. I’m happy to be here,” John Augenstein, a senior at Vanderbilt, said. “Everything I’ve heard about the course has been awesome. It’s an awesome tournament and the hardest to win because of how much golf you have to play.”
This year’s field features six of the top 10 amateur golfers in the world. Cole Hammer is the defending champion. He returns to try and make it two consecutive titles.
“The course is obviously tough. You don’t get here without tough courses and championship golf,” Hammer said Monday. “I think it’s the way the tournament is run with match play and stroke play, it’s a marathon. I’m excited to be here. I think this is probably the toughest tournament in amateur golf. To win and come back and have the opportunity to defend my title is pretty special.”
There are plenty of golfers who have the skills to unseat the reigning champ. It’s a field comprised of 156 players. They play 18 holes of individual play Tuesday and Wednesday. The field is then cut to the low 44 scores and ties. Those remaining in the field play 36 holes of stroke play to determine what the tournament defines as the Sweet 16.
According to The Western Amateur, players who have reached the Sweet 16 in previous years have gone on to earn the following accolades:
- 27 major championships since 2000
- 18 PGA TOUR Player of the Year Awards since 1990
- 19 wins during the 2018 PGA TOUR season
- Seven FedExCup titles
- Seven PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Awards since 1990
- 11 participants in the 2017 Presidents Cup
- Eight of the top 20 on the PGA TOUR career money list
Tee times for the first and second round begin at 7 a.m. The tournament continues into the weekend with match play eventually crowning a champion Saturday.