ROLAND — A brief look at the resumes of Cal golfers Michael Kim and Max Homa provides a whole lot of insight into the superb skill level of players who will compete next week in the Western Amateur at The Alotian Club.
Kim tied for 17th at the U.S. Open last month at Merion, finishing in front of a who’s who on the PGA Tour. Behind him were three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, British Open runner-up Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, who finished fast to tie for third at Muirfield, and recent Memorial winner Matt Kuchar. Farther down the leaderboard were Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world at the time.
A few weeks later, Kim made the 36-hole cut in the Greenbrier Classic and finished in the top 40.
Homa’s resume includes the NCAA individual championship in early June. Mentioning the best of the best, Jack Nicklaus, Woods, three-time winners Phil Mickelson and Ben Crenshaw captured the same title.
When Kim and Homa joined the field for the Western, they were the No. 4 and No. 7 amateurs in the world. The tournament also attracted members of Alabama’s NCAA championship team, who also were the world’s top three amateurs when rankings were released — No. 1 Cory Whitsett, No. 2 Justin Thomas and No. 3 Bobby Wyatt. Whitsett won the 2008 Western Junior, Thomas was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award this year and Wyatt went undefeated in his Palmer Cup matches earlier this year.
Players in the 156-man field will get in a practice round on Monday. The tournament begins Tuesday and the format makes it one of the most grueling tournaments in golf. After 18 holes of stroke play on both Tuesday and Wednesday, the field will be cut to the low 44 and ties. Those competitors will play 18 holes on both Thursday and Friday to determine the 16 qualifiers for the match-play portion of the tournament that includes two rounds Saturday and two more on Sunday.
Players who have made the Sweet Sixteen in the Western Amateur have won 29 of the last 35 PGA Tour Player of the Year awards and more than 70 major championships.
Anyone who wants to attend the tournament can purchase transferable admission badges for $100, good for all week.
In advance and throughout the tournament, badges will be available at the Will Call tent at tournament parking, which is at The Ranch on Highway 10.