End of an Era at Western Am

A historical win

A historical win

Korean born, 18 year old Danny Lee of New Zealand polished off UCLA’s Erik Flores 4&2 on Sunday, securing in the process not only one of amateur golf’s most elite titles, but also the #1 spot in the men’s world amateur rankings.

Ron Balicki also reports on the impending changes to the event, traditionally held at the Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Mich.

After 38 consecutive years of hosting the Western Am, and 40 overall, the Western Golf Association will be taking its amateur championship to the Chicago area, where seven courses are lined up to stage the event through 2015. The 2009 championship is slated for Conway Farms Golf Club, about 20 miles north of the Windy City.

The Western was last played in the Chicago area in 1952, at Exmoor Country Club.

Point O’ Woods initially hosted the Western Amateur in 1963. The championship returned to Point O’ Woods in 1965 and then was anchored at the club starting in 1971.

The Western dates to 1899 at the Glen View Club in Golf, Ill., and is regarded as one of the major amateur golf events in the world.

Tiger Woods won the 1994 Western for his first major amateur championship, three weeks before he claimed the U.S. Amateur title. Woods played in four Western Amateurs and called the tournament “the Masters of amateur golf.”

Other past winners of the Western Amateur include such notables as Justin Leonard (1992-93), Phil Mickelson (1991), Chris DiMarco (1988), Scott Verplank (1985), Hal Sutton (1979-80), Curtis Strange (1974), Ben Crenshaw (1973), Andy North (1971) and Tom Weiskopf (1963).

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