119th Western Amateur primer: Players to watch, history, info

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The 119th Western Amateur will be contested Tuesday-Saturday at Glen View Club in Glenview, Illinois. Here is everything you need to know about one of amateur golf’s most prestigious events:

Format

The Western Amateur is considered the most grueling test in golf. The tournament begins with 36 holes of stroke play before the 156-player field is cut down to the top 44 and ties. The third day of competition features 36 more holes of stroke play, and then the top 16 players advance to match play, which is held over two days, culminating in an 18-hole final on Saturday afternoon. Click here for updated tee times.

How to watch

This year’s Western Amateur will be streamed live on Golf Channel’s digital platforms, beginning with Friday’s Round of 16 and continuing with 12 hours of coverage. The final will be streamed in its entirety, starting at 2 p.m., ET Saturday. If you’re attending in person, admission and parking are free.

Venue

Glen View Club is hosting its third Western Amateur. David Forgan won the first Western title here in 1899 while Henry Chandler Egan took the victory in 1905, the last time Glen View had hosted the Western prior to this year. The par-70 layout will play at 6,928 yards this week.

Woods

Notable past champions

Egan won eight Western Amateurs, most of any player and one more than the seven captured by Chick Evans. Other Western champions include Francis Ouimet (1917), Jack Nicklaus (1961), Ben Crenshaw (1973), Phil Mickelson (1991) and Tiger Woods (1994). More recent winners include Beau Hossler (2014), Norman Xiong (2017), Cole Hammer (2018) and defending champion Pierceson Coody. Click here for the complete list of champs.

Field, by the numbers

This year’s field is highlighted by four of the top seven players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking: No. 2 Pierceson Coody (Texas), No. 5 Ricky Castillo (Florida), No. 6 Sam Bennett (Texas A&M) and No. 7 Cole Hammer (Texas). Coody and Hammer are two of three past winners in the field; they are joined by Canadian mid-amateur Garrett Rank, the 2019 champ. Coody, Hammer and Castillo are were members of the victorious 2021 U.S. Walker Cup team, as were 2021 Western competitors Stewart Hagestad and William Mouw. Ten of the WAGR’s top 25 are entered.


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Players to watch

Pierceson Coody

The rising Texas senior is the defending champion after beating Oklahoma State’s Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen in last year’s final at Crooked Stick. Coody had an excellent junior season, as he posted eight top-10s in 11 starts, including a victory and four other top-3 finishes. However, he twice battled illness in the spring, at the Walker Cup and then at the NCAA Championship. He was forced to withdraw after 18 holes at Grayhawk, but despite a busy stretch – one that also included a PGA Tour start at the Nelson between Walker Cup and regionals and the Arnold Palmer Cup – Coody mustered the strength to qualify for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He hasn’t played since, so he should be well-rested for his title defense. He’ll be joined in the field by Texas’ other four projected starters for next season, too – twin Parker Coody, Cole Hammer, Travis Vick and Mason Nome.

Winning Waves

Speaking of entire starting lineups, Pepperdine is well-represented with William Mouw, Dylan Menante, Joey Vrzich, Joe Highsmith and Derek Hitchner all in the field. Even former Wave R.J. Manke, who transferred to Washington this summer, is competing. While Mouw hasn’t teed it up since Pepperdine won the NCAA title in early June, his teammates have been busy – and winning. Menante won the Northeast Amateur before tying for second at the Pacific Coast Amateur. Also second at Chambers Bay was Highsmith, who also qualified for the U.S. Open and made the quarterfinals of the North and South Amateur. Vrzich was T-11 at Pac Coast. Hitchner, who didn’t qualify for the Waves’ postseason lineup last season, won the Trans-Miss Amateur and the Minnesota State Amateur while finishing runner-up at the Minnesota State Open.

Karl Vilips

Vilips didn’t have the type of freshman season at Stanford that he had envisioned. First, he was coming off of serious finger surgery the previous summer in which doctors had to graft bone from his wrist to repair his left grip finger. Secondly, the Cardinal didn’t compete in the fall and couldn’t even move into campus until mid-February because of the pandemic. And then there was trying to balance academics with a busy spring playing schedule. As a result, the much-ballyhooed newcomer posted just one top-10 finish in eight starts. But this summer, Vilips has found his groove, notching top-10s at the Sunnehanna, North/South and Southern amateurs. He also has entered the transfer portal and hoped to find a new school by the end of July. Now, he arrives at the Western Amateur, where he made match play a year ago at Crooked Stick.

Louis Dobbelaar

Considered to be the next young Aussie star to make noise as a pro, Dobbelaar has won five times worldwide since last August, including the Australian Amateur, Dogwood Invitational and most recently the North and South Amateur at Pinehurst, where he beat Jackson Van Paris in the final match.

Kaiwen Liu

The Cal senior opted out for the Bears last season because of coronavirus concerns, but he’s back competing this summer. The Dogwood Invitational, where he tied for 72nd and missed the 54-hole cut, was his first tournament since the 2020 U.S. Amateur last August. However, he bounced back with a solo third and finished a shot out of a playoff at the Trans-Miss.