GLENVIEW, Ill. (June 21, 2021) – Top junior players from the United States and around the world will take on historic Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, during the 2021 Western Junior on June 22-24.
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. The club had been scheduled to host the 2020 Western Junior before it was canceled due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s field of 156 features players from 28 states as well as Canada, the Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. Competition will begin with 18 holes of stroke play on June 22 and June 23, after which the field is cut to the low 44 and ties. Those who make the cut will play 36 holes on June 24 to decide a champion.
The winner will join Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk as a Western Junior champion. The top three finishers and ties receive exemptions into the Western Amateur at Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, in late July.
Piercen Hunt will finally get a chance to defend his title from 2019, when he lapped the field by seven shots at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Hunt called that win the biggest of his career. He went on to play in five events as a freshman at Illinois this year.
It’s been 80 years since Ben Downing became the last back-to-back winner of the Western Junior in 1941. To match that feat, Hunt will have to outlast several of the top-ranked players in the Rolex AJGA rankings. This year’s Western Junior field includes Caleb Surratt (No. 5), Luke Clanton (No. 6), Nicholas Dunlap (No. 8), Ethan Gao (No. 15), Kyo Morishita (No. 18), Shawn Lalmoni (No. 19), Anawin Pikulthong (No. 22) and Solomon Petrie (No. 23).
Several local players from Illinois are in the field, including TJ Barger (Bloomington), Peter Crowe (Lake Forest), Sean Curran (New Lenox), Pierce Grieve (Lake Forest), Jack Marshall (Lake Forest), Eli Myers (Northbrook), Cy Norman (Benton), Kevin O’Regan (Northbrook), Dom Scaletta (East Dundee), Benjamin Sluzas (Lockport), Jake Wiktor (River Forest) and John Wild (Glen Ellyn).
“We strive each year to attract the best junior golfers in the world, and we’re pleased that so many of them have chosen to play in the Western Junior,” said Vince Pellegrino, WGA senior vice president of tournaments. “These players are the stars of the future, and we look forward to seeing them test themselves at Onwentsia Club.”
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.
For the full field list, click here.
For tee times, click here.