101st Western Amateur boasts another strong field
By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
The 101st Western Amateur, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 at the Point O'Woods Golf and Country Club near Benton Harbor, will have another strong field.
Qualifiers, which are open to the public, are held at Hampshire Country Club near Dowagiac and Lake Michigan Hills near Coloma on July 28.
Some field the format of the Western Amateur is the toughest in all of golf. Five grueling days of competition at the Point, which begins with 36 holes of stroke play over two days.
The field is then cut to the low 50 scores plus ties for 36 additional holes of stroke play in one day.
The field is then cut to the "Sweet 16" for the beginning of match play on Saturday morning.
Two rounds of match play will be played on Saturday with the semifinals set for Sunday morning, Aug. 2 and the finals on Sunday afternoon.
Hoping to join the ranks of such former Western Amateur winners as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard will be Bill Haas, son of former PGA standout Jay Haas; Wesley Pate, son of former PGA standout Jerry Pate; and Danny Green, 1997 Western Am champion and record holder of eight Sweet 16 appearances.
Also making the trip to Benton Harbor are several players who just missed reaching the Sweet 16 in previous appearances.
Tripp Davis of Norman, Okla., missed the Sweet 16 by three strokes last summer.
Tyler Leon of Dallas, Texas, missed the Sweet 16 by a stroke, as did Jonathan Moore of Portland, Ore.
Chez Reavie of Mesa, Ariz. missed qualifying for match play by two strokes in 2002.
Adam Rubinson of Fort Worth, Texas, returns after finishing second last year to John Klauk.
Brad Heaven of Toledo, Ohio reached the Sweet 16 last year, but lost in the first round. Brady Stockton of San Ramon, Calif. was a semifinalist at last year's Western, while Camillo Villegas of Gainesville, Fla. lost in the opening round of match play last year.
Casey Wittenberg of Memphis, Tenn., lost in the first round in 2002 as well.
Making their first appearances in the Western Am are top amateurs John Holmes of Campbellsville, Ky., Brett Lange of Atlanta, Ga. and Dillard Pruitt of Greenville, S.C.