MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. – The 105th Western Junior Championship returns to Midlothian Country Club this week, bringing a decorated field of rising international stars to one of the Chicago area’s most historic clubs on June 20-22.
First played at Chicago Golf Club in 1914, the Western Junior is the United States’ oldest national junior golf championship. The event has long been a testing ground for stars of the future, including current PGA TOUR standouts Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and veterans Fred Couples, Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin and Jim Furyk.
This week marks the third time that Midlothian has hosted the Western Junior. The iconic club in Midlothian, Illinois, held the second playing of the championship in 1915, when DeWitt Balch won. Robert Cochran won the 1931 Western Junior when Midlothian last hosted.
The 2023 field is one of the most accomplished in the history of the event, featuring junior golf standouts from 27 states and 13 countries worldwide, including:
- Ryder Cowan of Edmond, Oklahoma. After a 5-under-par T5 finish at the 2022 Western Junior at Onwentsia Country Club, Cowan is 18th in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. The University of Oklahoma commit has recorded seven top 10 finishes in his junior career, including a third-place performance at the 2022 PING Invitational.
- Smith Summerlin of Raleigh, North Carolina. Summerlin had an impressive summer in 2022 with a victory at the Jack Burke Jr. Invitational that included a final-round 63. Summerlin, No. 16 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, also recorded T2 finish at the 50th Southern Junior Championship.
- Gerardo Gomez of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Currently No. 23 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Gomez recorded top five finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Junior, PING Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions in 2022. The University of Arkansas commit will look to keep the Milt Woodard Trophy in Mexico after Eduardo Derbez Torres’ win last year.
- Rylan Shim of Fairfax, Virginia. Shim, a University of Florida commit, finished tied for fifth at the 2022 Western Junior at 5-under-par. Shim recently finished in sixth at the 2023 Dustin Johnson World Junior and won the 2022 Lanto Junior Championship.
- William Jennings of Greenville, South Carolina. Jennings began 2023 with a T7 finish at the Terra Cotta Invitational in Naples, Florida, and finished third at the Team TaylorMade Invitational in late May. A University of Alabama commit, Jennings recorded top-five finishes at the 28th Annual Bobby Chapman and Wyndham Invitational presented by Truist in 2022.
- JP Odland of Tiburon, California. Currently No. 27 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Odland has finished in the top 10 in each of his last six events — including a win at the IMG Academy Junior World Florida Challenge — and is committed to play at Santa Clara University this fall.
- Jake Maggert of The Woodlands, Texas. The son of PGA TOUR-winner Jeff Maggert is No. 30 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Maggert recently won the 2022 AJGA-Accenture NW Arkansas Junior and will follow in his father's footsteps at Texas A&M in the fall.
The field also features top Chicagoland junior golfers, including Ryan Banas (Winnetka), Jason Gordon (Northbrook), Salil Khanduja (Naperville), Ian Love (Chicago), Eli Myers (Northbrook), Robert O’Regan (Northbrook), Grant Roscich (Glen Ellyn) and Noah Zyung (Glenview). Nick Barry (Lockport) will be competing on his home course at Midlothian.
Competition will begin with 18 holes of stroke play on both June 20 and June 21, after which the field is cut to the low 44 and ties. Those who make the cut will play 36 holes on June 22 to decide a champion. The top three finishers and ties receive exemptions into the Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois, in late July.
Attendance and parking at the Western Junior are free.