North Shore Country Club To Host The 121st Western Amateur

The middle of summer is the busy time of the golf season for the tournament officials at the Western Golf Association. Just 5 weeks after crowning 18-year old, Hans Risvaer of Miami, FL champion of the 105th Western Junior at Midlothian Country Club on June 22, the WGA officials will be conducting the 121st Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois in early August.

The Western Amateur is renowned for being the toughest test in amateur golf. It has been a prestigious national championship since its founding in 1899. Many of golf’s greatest players have etched their names on the George R. Thorne Trophy, but many more were unable to conquer the grueling format.

The field features 156 invited players from across the world. An 18-hole practice round will be played on Monday, July 31. The first round of stroke play will be contested on Tuesday, August 1, followed by the second round of stroke play on Wednesday, August 2.

After these 36 holes of stroke play, the field will be trimmed from 156 players to 44 players, including ties. Thursday, August 3 is a demanding day for the remaining players, as another 36 holes of stroke play is added to their scores to determine the top Sweet-16 players that will then begin the match play format. In the event of ties for the 16th spot, a playoff will start as soon as the last player has completed the final qualifying round.

The match play format begins on Friday morning with an 18-hole Round of 16 teeing off at 8:00am. The eight winners from the morning round will compete in the 18-hole quarterfinal round on Friday afternoon, August 4, beginning at 1:00pm. An identical schedule for Championship Saturday, pits the four semi-finalists in a morning round of 18-holes starting at 8:00am, with the two finalists pairing off in the championship match of 18-holes at 1:00pm.

Located on its current site since 1924, North Shore Country Club was designed by the legendary golf course architecture firm of Harry S. Colt and Charles H. Alison. North Shore Country Club has hosted the 1928 Western Open, the 1933 U.S. Open, the 1939 U.S. Amateur, the 1983 U.S. Amateur, the 2011 Western Amateur, and the PGA Tour Champions “Encompass Championship” from 2012-2015

North Shore Country Club

North Shore Country Club

The Western Golf Association brought the storied Western Amateur to North Shore for the first time in 2011. The field of participants from that event is a literal “who’s who” on today’s PGA TOUR. The finals match pitted Ethan Tracy from the University of Arkansas against Patrick Cantlay from UCLA, the world’s top-ranked amateur at the time. Tracy pulled off the upset by defeating Cantlay 1-up, making a clutch putt on the 18th green.

Headlining this year’s field as a top contender to capture the 2023 Western Am championship is Austin Greaser, the University Of North Carolina golfer who won the 2022 Western Amateur, defeating Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira of Argentina (Arkansas) 1 up in the championship match at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, Ill. Greaser became the fourth Tar Heel to win the Western Amateur, joining Greg Parker (1986), John Inman (1984) and Frank Fuhrer (1981). One year earlier Austin finished 2nd at the 2021 U.S. Amateur after losing in the final match to Michigan State’s James Piot at Oakmont Country Club. He is currently ranked 4th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Another top contender is Michael Thorbjornsen, an upperclassman at Stanford University, who won the 2021 Western Am at the Glen View Club, and finished 9th in the 2022 Western Am at Exmoor Country Club. He is currently ranked #2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and just recently played in the U.S. Open and Canadian Open. He is the current Pac-12 Men’s Individual Golf champion which he won in April, 2023.

And perhaps the player with the best chance to capture the 2023 Western Am is the golfer with strongest resume, Gordon Sargent of Vanderbilt University. Sargent is currently ranked #1 in the WAGR, and just recently captured the ‘low amateur’ medal at the 2023 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. Sargent won the NCAA Men’s Individual golf championship in May, 2022. Sargent is intent on bettering his 17th place finish from last year’s Western Am at Exmoor. Gordon has 4 wins and 23 Top-10 finishes in his last 38 events.

Coincidentally, the trio of Sargent, Thorbjornsen, and Greaser, were Team USA members at the World Amateur Team Championship – Eisenhower Trophy last September at Le Golf National in France.

Based upon their solid performance in the recently completed 2023 Western Junior Championship, Hans Risvaer, Noah Kent, and Jacob Modleski all earned exemptions into the Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois in early August.

Fans can watch these six players plus 150 additional top amateurs for free at North Shore Country Club in Glenview on the dates of July 31-August 5. Parking is also free. Further information can be obtained at the Western Amateur website.


Greg Miles

Greg Miles has been a writer following golf in Chicago since 1990. For the past 30 years he has been a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and currently is classified as a GWAA "Life Member". He played his first round of golf on his 11th birthday, and since then has played more than 7,300 rounds of golf in his lifetime at 517 different courses. He has interviewed more than 280 golfers across all the professional tours along with famous celebrity golfers. Additionally, he is a member of several other competitive and honorary golf associations, as well as the Golf Nut Society.

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