GLENVIEW, Ill. (February 12, 2020) – Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, will host a Western Golf Association golf championship for the first time in more than a century when the 103rd Western Junior Championship is played there June 15-18, 2020.
Since its creation by the Western Golf Association in 1914, the Western Junior has been a proving ground for future PGA TOUR stars, including past champions Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan. PGA Tour stars such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar also have competed in the Western Junior.
The Western Junior, the oldest national junior golf championship, has been played in more than 15 states and at several prestigious Chicagoland golf clubs, but never at Onwentsia, which was established in 1895.
The Onwentsia Club was among 11 charter clubs that established the WGA in 1899 to help spread the game of golf across the Midwest. A year later, the club hosted the second Western Amateur. The U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open also have been played at Onwentsia.
“Few golf clubs have the tradition and history of Onwentsia,” said Vince Pellegrino, the WGA’s Senior Vice President of Tournaments. “The club holds a special place in the history of the WGA, and we’re excited to bring this event and a field of the country’s best junior players to Onwentsia.”
Onwentsia’s beginnings trace back to 1893 when the club, known then as Lake Forest Golf Club, consisted of a diminutive seven-hole course in the yard of Sen. Charles B. Farwell. Players navigated flowerbeds and used sunken tomato cans for holes.
In 1895, the club moved to its current location on Green Bay Road and was given its present name – Onwentsia.
The club hired Charles Blair Macdonald, who founded Chicago Golf Club, to design the first nine holes. The second nine were designed in 1898 by famed golf course architects Herbert J. Tweedie, James Foulis and Robert Foulis. The course was renovated by Tom Doak in 1996.
“On behalf of the Onwentsia Club, our members and staff, we are honored to host the 103rd Western Junior Championship,” said L. Peter Smith, club president. “This year, Onwentsia celebrates its 125th year, and we cannot think of a better way to help celebrate than including the oldest national junior golf tournament in the United States. We look forward to seeing golf’s rising stars compete for this coveted title.”
Onwentsia has been a steadfast supporter of the Evans Scholars Foundation, a nonprofit administered by the Western Golf Association that has awarded full college tuition and housing scholarships to more than 11,000 caddies since 1930.
Onwentsia has had 28 of its caddies graduate as Evans Scholars, beginning with Charles Van Etten, who earned an Evans Scholarship in 1952 to attend Northwestern University. Also, six current Evans Scholars caddied at Onwentsia.
Onwentsia has also been a supporter of the WGA Caddie Academy, a summer program that provides caddie opportunities to under-resourced high school students from across the nation.