Challenge awaits the world's top junior golfers
Sugar Grove, Ill. (March 21, 2019) – Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, will host the Western Golf Association’s 102nd Western Junior on June 17-20.
The annual championship features an international field of 156 top junior players, all vying to win the country’s oldest national junior golf championship.
First held by the Western Golf Association in 1914, the Western Junior has served as a proving ground for many future PGA TOUR stars, including past champions Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar also have competed in the Western Junior. The event was not played for several years during World War I and World War II.
The Western Junior has been played in more than 15 states and at several prestigious Chicagoland golf clubs. The event was played last year at Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, Illinois, and was won by Jeff Doty of Carmel, Indiana.
Rich Harvest Farms first hosted the Western Junior in 2003, when Brady Schnell posted a 72-hole total of 2-over-par 290 to claim the title. That remains the record for highest winning score since the Western Junior switched from a match play format to a 72-hole stroke play event in 1999.
“We’re excited to bring the Western Junior to such a distinguished venue as Rich Harvest Farms,” said Vince Pellegrino, Western Golf Association senior vice president of tournaments. “The layout of this course should again prove to be a true challenge for our entire field of exceptional junior players.”
Among those expected to be in this year’s field are: Vanderbilt verbal commit and 2018 U.S. Amateur match play qualifier Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina; Rolex Junior All-American Alexander Yang of Carlsbad, California; and Arizona State verbal commit Jeewon Park of South Korea.
Designed by owner and Western Golf Association Director Jerry Rich, Rich Harvest Farms was rated fifth “Best New Private Course” by Golf Digest in 1999. In designing the course, Rich drew upon his background as an avid golfer who has played many of the world’s finest courses.
"I am thrilled to once again host the best junior golfers in the world," Rich said. "It's all about growing the game and elevating junior golf tournaments to the level of professional ones. With the way junior golfers play today, you'd think you're watching members of the PGA TOUR!"
Rich Harvest Farms also hosted the WGA’s 2015 Western Amateur, won by Dawson Armstrong in one of the most dramatic finishes in the championship’s storied history. On the 20th hole, Armstrong closed out the final match against reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Aaron Wise by holing a 20-yard bunker shot for eagle.
“Mr. Rich has been a loyal supporter of our championships and of the Evans Scholars program,” Pellegrino noted. “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to return to Rich Harvest Farms for another Western Golf Association championship.”