GLENVIEW, Ill. (October 6, 2020) – The 2021 Western Junior will be played at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, the Western Golf Association announced today.
Onwentsia Club had been scheduled to host the 2020 Western Junior, but the WGA canceled the event due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we were greatly disappointed we were unable to conduct this year’s Western Junior, we’re grateful that Onwentsia has extended its commitment to support the championship by serving as our 2021 Western Junior host,” said Vince Pellegrino, Western Golf Association senior vice president of tournaments. “We’re looking forward to welcoming some of the top junior golfers in the world to one of the most historic and time-honored courses in Chicagoland.”
With Onwentsia set to host the event in 2021, Naperville Country Club – originally announced as the 2021 host – will host the 2022 Western Junior. Midlothian Country Club will host in 2023.
The 103rd Western Junior, to be played June 21-24, 2021, will mark the first time since 1900 that Onwentsia has hosted a WGA golf championship.
Onwentsia Club was among the 11 charter clubs that established the WGA in 1899 to help spread the game of golf across the Midwest. A year later, Onwentsia hosted the second Western Amateur – the first and only WGA event held at the club. The U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open also have been played at Onwentsia.
“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. “In 2020, we celebrated our 125th anniversary. We cannot think of a better way to start the next 125 years than by welcoming the oldest national junior golf tournament in the United States. We look forward to seeing golf’s rising stars compete for this coveted title.”
Since its creation by the WGA in 1914, the Western Junior has been a proving ground for future PGA TOUR stars, including past champions Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and Collin Morikawa. 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.
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.
Onwentsia has been a steadfast supporter of the Evans Scholars Foundation, a nonprofit administered by the WGA that has awarded full college tuition and housing scholarships to more than 12,000 caddies since 1930.
Onwentsia has had 30 of its caddies graduate as Evans Scholars, beginning with Charles Van Etten, who earned an Evans Scholarship in 1948 to attend Northwestern University. 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.
Attendance and parking for the Western Junior are free.