By MATT HARNESS/WGA
GLENCOE, Ill. (Aug. 5, 2017) — Not once during regulation did Norman Xiong, of Canyon Lake, California, believe he had a grip on winning the 115th Western Amateur at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.
Not even when he led Doc Redman, of Raleigh, North Carolina, 4 up through nine or 3 up through 15. It wasn’t until Redman missed his par putt on the 22nd hole that Xiong could celebrate winning the championship. It was the longest final match in tournament history and only the 13th time one went to extra holes.
“I tried to have fun and stay in the moment,” he said. “I played one hole at a time.”
A sophomore at Oregon, Xiong is the 25th medalist to win the tournament and the first since Chris Williams, of Moscow, Idaho, in 2012 at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park. He finished stroke play at 14 under.
After dropping three holes in a row, Xiong nearly saw the title slip away from him on the 18th hole. But Redman’s 20-foot birdie putt lipped out to send the match into extra holes.
“After 16, I started to feel it,” Xiong said. “I got a little more nervous, a little more tense. Before that, I was loose. Doc and I had fun out there … before 16, it was a relaxing round. We tried to keep it light, even though it’s such a big stage.”
A similar scenario played out on No. 1 when Xiong’s 15-foot birdie putt to win lipped out. The players halved the second with pars and the third with birdies. Redman two-putted for his birdie on No. 3, while Xiong needed to make a 15-footer to keep his title hopes alive.
On the par-4 fourth, Xiong hit his approach to 12 feet, and Redman was more than 100 feet away, off the front right of the green. Xiong easily two-putted for par, but Redman couldn’t convert his par putt to keep the match going.
Despite being down late, Redman said he never counted himself out.
“I wanted to stick to what I’d been doing, see if I could get some birdies,” he said. “There was nothing crazy going on in my head.”
The match went back and forth at the beginning, with Xiong winning the first and Redman taking the second. The two didn’t halve a hole until they each made par at No. 8. In all, 13 of the 22 were won outright. They both made five birdies over the first 18 holes and shot 2 under.
“There were massive swings,” Redman said.
Added Xiong: “We didn’t tie too many holes, and it didn’t seem to be too one-sided. We didn’t give too many [holes] away.”
After a successful freshman season at Clemson in which he won two tournaments as was selected the ACC Freshman of the Year, Redman proved he’s one of the best players in the world with his showing at Skokie Country Club. He tied for sixth in medal play at 10 under.
“I played awesome in stroke play, which was very encouraging,” he said. “To hang tough and beat some very good players [in match play], then to come back from four down to Norman says I’m right up there with the best of them.”
Like Redman, Xiong enjoyed a strong start to his college career. He won once, posted seven top 10s in 10 starts and earned the Phil Mickelson Award as the top newcomer in college golf. Winning the Western Amateur will raise his profile even more.
What’s more, Redman and Xiong both exhibited the sportsmanship the sport prides itself on. Redman conceded Xiong’s four-foot putt for par on 18 because he said he didn’t want to win on a possible Xiong miss. Prior to that, Xiong gave Redman par putts on Nos. 16-17 that measured longer than two feet.
Following six days at Skokie Country Club and 145 holes of competition, they each praised the tournament and golf course, which Xiong called one of the five best he’s played.
“Every day was a pleasure to play out here,” he said.
Redman complimented the hospitality displayed by the club and said the strength of the field separates the Western Amateur from other top-tier tournaments.
“You can’t beat it,” he said.
GLENCOE, ILLINOIS (Aug. 3, 2017) -- Norman Xiong, of Canyon Lake, California, learned he was the 115th Western Amateur medalist Thursday while sitting at a table in the downstairs dining room at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.
“I was ready for dinner,” he said.
But food would have to wait.
Although he finished more than one hour before the final group did, Xiong’s 14-under 270 was enough to edge out Brad Dalke, of Norman, Oklahoma, by one stroke. Dalke, playing in the final pairing, had a chance to tie Xiong at 14 under, but the Oklahoma junior’s 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th missed its mark.
“I can’t believe it,” said Xiong, a sophomore at Oregon. “I didn’t expect this being so far back to start the day. My main goal was to get into match play. If I put together two solid rounds, I knew I had a chance at the top five, but I didn’t expect to win.”
Despite entering Thursday’s final two rounds of stroke play tied for 29th, Xiong thought two good rounds could catapult him up the leaderboard.
He was right.
Starting at No. 10, Xiong wasted no time making his move by carding five birdies and no bogeys on his first nine to carry him to a 66. In the afternoon, he started with four consecutive birdies on the back nine and shot 65.
“I knew if I just played my game, I could get in there pretty solidly,” Xiong said. “Things got hot with my putter in the beginning of both rounds, and things went my way.”
While the medalist was named Thursday, the Sweet 16 will have to wait until Friday.
Due to darkness, there will be a playoff for the four players who finished at 8 under for the final three spots into match play. The third and fourth rounds were interrupted for a total of 140 minutes by two weather delays. The playoff will start at 7 a.m. on the ninth hole and continue, if needed, to holes 1 and 18. First round matches are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.
Nick Hardy, of Northbrook, Illinois, Nick Voke, of Auckland, New Zealand, and Ruben Sondjaja, of Sydney, Australia, all tied for third at 11 under.
The leader after three rounds, Sondjaja stood 15 under through 71 holes after holing out from a greenside bunker at No. 17. The 2017 Iowa State graduate then hit two tee balls out of bounds on the 18th for a quadruple bogey.
Voke, also a 2017 graduate of Iowa State, is in match play for the first time. Meanwhile, Hardy, a senior at Illinois, qualified for match play for a third time to join a short list of players to do so in the modern era of the tournament.
A celebrated junior player, Xiong continued his success as a college freshman. He was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and earned All-Pac 12 First Team honors. Xiong, the winner of the Junior PGA Championship, played a significant role in Oregon’s runner-up finish at the NCAA Division I Men’s National Championship.
But Xiong didn’t hesitate to call what he accomplished Thursday the biggest thrill of his career.
“For sure,” he said. “By far. To me, it’s this, the U.S. Amateur, probably the Northeast Amateur as the biggest tournaments in amateur golf.”
- Matt Harness, WGA
GOLF, Ill. – An Evans Scholar graduate from Indiana University received the top individual honor awarded by the Evans Scholars Foundation at the Program’s annual Summer Outing banquet on June 26 at Twin Orchard Country Club in Long Grove, Illinois.
Indiana University Evans Scholar AJ Gauthier was named the 2017 Evans Scholar of the Year, the top honor a student can receive within the Evans Scholars Program.
Along with these individual awards, the Northwestern University Evans Scholars were recognized for achieving the highest cumulative GPA, a 3.5 for the 2016-17 school year, across all the Program’s 20 Scholarship chapters.
The Evans Scholars Program, which has been run by the Western Golf Association since its founding in 1930, is among the nation’s largest privately-funded scholarship programs. This fall, more than 935 caddies will be enrolled in 20 top universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 10,400 caddies have graduated since the Program began.
Evans Scholars are caddies who have earned a full tuition and housing grant based on their strong caddie record, excellent academics, financial need and outstanding character. Most Scholars attend one of 15 universities across the nation where the Evans Scholars Foundation owns and operates a Scholarship House.
“This year’s winners have shown outstanding leadership both in the classroom and on their campuses,” said WGA President and CEO John Kaczkowski. “We are truly proud of all of them. Their hard work and dedication serves as an inspiration for other students.”
Evans Scholar of the Year
AJ Gauthier was named the 2017 Evans Scholar of the Year, the most prestigious title a student can earn within the Evans Scholars Program. From Munster, Indiana, Gauthier caddied at Briar Ridge Country Club in Schererville. He graduated in May from Indiana University with a 3.8 cumulative GPA and a dual degree in accounting and finance. During his time as an Evans Scholar at Indiana, Gauthier served as chapter president and received multiple Program leadership and academic honors. He has a full-time position at Greenhill & Company, a boutique investment banking firm in New York.
Of the Evans Scholarship, Gauthier says, “The Evans Scholarship has changed my life, and I have tried my best to make the most of my college experience by taking advantage of every opportunity possible. I am so proud to be an Evans Scholar and incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way.”
James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy
The Evans Scholars from Northwestern University earned a 3.5 cumulative GPA for the 2016-17 school year and were awarded the James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy for academic excellence. The trophy, given annually since 1962, honors Evans Scholarship chapter that earns the highest cumulative GPA for the previous school year. In addition, each of the Foundation’s 20 Scholarship Chapters earned a cumulative GPA above 3.0. All received a plaque honoring their academic achievement at the banquet.
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (Thursday, June 22) – William Mouw, 16, of Chino, California, made his long walk look easy Thursday, showing stamina and skill in mastering the 36-hole final and posting a record-tying, wire-to-wire victory in the 100th Western Junior at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Illinois, Thursday.
Mouw, who held a two-shot lead heading into the final day, strolled away from the field with a pair of 3-under 67s for a 72-hole total of 266 to tie the 72-hole record set by Hunter Mahan in 1999 on the Tradition course at Treetops Sylvan Resort in Michigan. In second, a distant eight shots back at 274, was Karl Vilips, 15, of Australia.
After taking the 36-hole lead Wednesday, Mouw said he had walked 36 holes six days in a row recently to prepare for the Western Junior’s arduous final day. That preparation helped him best the heat and humidity that blanketed Park Ridge Country Club throughout the day and paved the way to his win.
“It was one of the toughest golf days I’ve played, but my legs are doing well,” said Mouw, a junior at Ontario Christian School in Ontario, California. “I drank 20 bottles of water and a couple of Gatorades and think I ate about six bananas.”
Mouw, who built his lead to 6-under after 54 holes, said he kept his focus by setting a goal to beat himself.
“I was going to go as low as I could today,” he said. “My goal was 67 and I hit my goal both times.”
He did it by sticking to his game plan of one shot at a time, playing aggressive and trusting in his swing.
“I hit the ball well, and my speed was good with my putts,” said Mouw, a long hitter who can hit his 2-iron 285-290 yards. “I think I only three-putted once all week. My caddie helped me a lot, kept me calm.”
Mouw, who has verbally committed to play his collegiate golf at Pepperdine, became just the second wire-to-wire winner of the Western Junior since the 1999 format change. The first champion to take and hold the lead all four rounds was Jonathan Moore in 2001 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mouw’s eight-shot win also matched the record for largest margin of victory, set in 2014 by KK Limbhasut at Flossmoor Country Club in Flossmoor, Illinois.
Mouw has come close to victory this year, tying for second in the Heater Farr Classic and tying for fourth in the AJGA Junior at Greenhorn Creek.
Winning the Western Junior “is a great feeling,” he noted. “This win means a lot – it’s a big one, one to put in the memory book. These guys (his competitors this week) are the best in America. I’m honored ...”
Vilips, who ended up being Mouw’s closest competitor, struggled with his driving all week, keeping him from giving Mouw a closer battle for the title. Vilips, a sophomore at Saddlebrook Prep in Wesley Chapel, Florida, was paired with Mouw in 2015 IMG World Golf Championship, which Mouw won.
“I missed a few opportunities,” said Vilips, who has committed to play his collegiate golf at Stanford. “My tee shots were everywhere this week. He (Mouw) is definitely a good player. He played great golf the whole week.
“I probably hit fewer than 40 percent of the fairways this week, but probably got up and down 60 percent of the time,” added Vilips. “The course is in great shape and it’s tough, especially when you hit it everywhere off the tee like I did.”
Mac Meissner, 18, San Antonio, Texas, finished third, one back of Vilips at 275.
“It was nice to get a good finish,” said Meissner, who’s heading to SMU this fall. “This course is amazing ... in perfect shape and demanding off the tee.”
Meissner also credited Mouw for his amazing showing this week. “To shoot 14-under over four rounds out here is really remarkable,” he said. “That some solid golf, but he’s a solid player.”
GOLF, Ill. – The Western Golf Association’s Caddie Academy will return for its sixth summer, providing a group of 89 female high school students from across the nation an opportunity to caddie at local golf and country clubs – and ultimately earn a shot at winning a full housing and tuition college scholarship.
For seven weeks beginning June 19, the girls will caddie daily at one of 13 participating clubs along Chicago’s North Shore, while living in community at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois.
This unique program offers participants a chance to experience the benefits of being a golf caddie, from learning life lessons to being around successful adults. The girls come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and/or areas that don’t offer caddie opportunities. More than 90 percent of participants are minorities.
Those who complete the three-summer program will become eligible to apply for the Evans Scholarship, a full, four-year tuition and housing college grant to top universities across the country. The Program is supported by the Western Golf Association; applicants must show financial need and strong character, as well as outstanding caddie and academic records. This past year, 935 Evans Scholars were enrolled at 20 universities across the nation.
“The Caddie Academy provides a unique opportunity for hard-working young women to be introduced to caddying and the game of golf,” says WGA Chairman David Robinson. “Their ultimate reward is a chance to earn a full scholarship to a top university."
Since 2012, when the Caddie Academy began, 23 participants have been awarded the Evans Scholarship. This year, six girls earned the Evans Scholarship and will begin college this fall: Julissa Andino: North Shore Country Club, awarded to University of Illinois; Robyn Coleman: Glen View Club, awarded to Penn State University, Johanna de Leon: Conway Farms Golf Club, awarded to Marquette University; Jade Gray-Davis: Onwentsia Club, awarded to Penn State University, Melina Scofield: The Glen Club, awarded to Northwestern University; and Katelyn Sweeney: The Glen Club, awarded to Miami University.
During the seven weeks the Caddie Academy is in session, female Evans Scholars live with the participants, serving as counselors to supervise and mentor the group, as well as driving the girls to their respective clubs each day.
The group also takes part in special outings and field trips, career talks from successful female leaders and standardized test prep training.
This year, more than 100 high school freshmen girls from across the country applied to participate in the Caddie Academy. Of that group, 38 girls were invited to take part. This summer’s participants include young women from Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C.
The Caddie Academy began in 2012 with an inaugural class of 12 caddies. Each year since, it has experienced tremendous success and growth. The program – and other similar caddie training initiatives – is a core part of the Evans Scholars Foundation’s overall plans for growth, with leaders aiming to send 1,000 caddies to college annually by the year 2020.
Partnering clubs in the Academy include Conway Farms Golf Club, Evanston Golf Club, Exmoor Country Club, The Glen Club, Glen View Club, Indian Hill Club, Knollwood Club, Merit Club, Onwentsia Club, Northmoor Country Club, Skokie Country Club, Twin Orchard Country Club and Westmoreland Country Club.
The Caddie Academy is funded by a private donor. Proceeds from the annual Women’s Invitational golf outing, now in its third year, also benefit the Academy.
The WGA also is launching a Caddie Academy program for boys this summer, following the success of its program for teenage girls. For seven weeks this summer beginning June 19, a group of six young men will live at the Northwestern Evans Scholarship House in Evanston and caddie at new WGA partnering clubs along Chicago’s North Shore.
“The success of the Caddie Academy for young women has exceeded our wildest expectations,” says the WGA’s Mike Maher, who oversees the program. “We’re excited to be able to expand the opportunity to introduce golf and caddying to a new group of underserved youth, who we ultimately hope will become successful applicants for the Evans Scholarship.”
GOLF, IL (May 10, 2017) … The Western Golf Association and the Women’s Western Golf Association are forming a new partnership in which the WGA will assist in managing WWGA championships beginning Aug. 1, leaders jointly announced this week.
The new agreement also provides for the WGA to help guide the Women’s Western Golf Foundation, which was founded by the WWGA in 1971 and has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarships to more than 690 young women from across the country.
The history of connections between the two organizations dates back more than 116 years, as the WGA was the initial sponsor of the Western Women’s amateur championship in 1901. The women organized their own association in 1903, changing the name to the Women’s Western Golf Association. In 2011, the WGA agreed to provide administrative support to WWGA championships beginning in 2012.
As part of the new five-year agreement, the WGA will help stage and promote the WWGA’s Women’s Western National Amateur Championship and the Women’s Western National Junior Championship and secure host sites for the events.
The 117th Women’s Western Amateur Championship will be played June 12-17 at River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst, Illinois, and the 91st Women’s Junior Championship will be held July 10-14 at Dubuque Golf and Country Club in Dubuque, Iowa.
“The history between these two golf associations goes back to the beginnings of the Women’s Western Golf Association. We have had a great relationship with the Western Golf Association through the years,” said Frances Fleckenstein, president of the Women’s Western Golf Association. “After forming our partnership again in 2011, we now look forward to taking the next step to having their full support, which will be beneficial to both our organizations.”
WGA Chairman David Robinson said the partnership is a perfect fit for the two historic organizations.
“We’re excited to be deepening our relationship with the WWGA, which has done so much in the Midwest and across the country for women’s golf,” said Robinson. “It is an organization whose values and storied history of championships and scholarships are very much aligned with our own.”
The two organizations also jointly sponsor a Women’s Western Evans Scholar, awarding a four-year tuition and housing college scholarship to a female caddie who excels academically, has an outstanding caddie record and demonstrates financial need.
The current Women’s Western Evans Scholar is Hannah Gillespie, who is completing her freshman year at the University of Notre Dame.
Download 2017 Offline Enrollment Form
On the strength of a fast start to the 2017 campaign, the Evans Scholars Foundation’s annual Match Play Challenge initiative has surpassed $50 million in all-time fundraising to support caddie scholarships.
The milestone — reached in just the seventh year of the Match Play Challenge — comes at a time when the skyrocketing cost of college tuition has young caddies nationwide applying for the Evans Scholarship in record numbers. The commitment and generosity of the Evans Scholars Program’s supporters has allowed the Foundation to meet this rising need.
“We are extremely grateful to our donors, whose extraordinary generosity has made this milestone possible,” said David Robinson, WGA Chairman. “The success of this annual campaign means we can commit to a bold plan for the future of the Evans Scholars Foundation.”
Developed with the leadership of WGA Director Mike Keiser in 2011, the Match Play Challenge is the major gifts component of the annual Par Club fundraising campaign. Each year, a group of Match Play Partners make gifts of $50,000 and greater. These gifts are pooled and used to match the gifts of $2,500 and greater the Foundation receives.
The generosity of Match Play Partners has inspired thousands of donors from coast to coast to support youth caddies. Since 2011, the Match Play Challenge has generated more than 300 gifts of $50,000 and greater and more than 5,800 gifts of $2,500 and greater.
These major gifts have positioned the Foundation to set aggressive goals for the near future. In addition to increasing the number of Evans Scholars in school from the record 935 enrolled during the 2016-17 academic year to 1,000 by the year 2020, the Foundation is working to establish the Evans Scholars Program at additional universities coast to coast.
At the same time, it is increasing living capacity at its Scholarship Houses to provide all Evans Scholars with the benefits of community living. That means establishing new Scholarship Houses at some partner universities and renovating existing Houses to ensure that Evans Scholars have the ideal living and learning environment.
Finally, the Foundation is expanding its continuum of support — from caddie training programs to career mentorship — to better position itself to guide young men and women from caddie, to college, to career.
As the Match Play Challenge pushes beyond the $50 million threshold, its continued success will be critical to the Foundation’s ability to reach its goals while giving young men and women the opportunity to attend college with the support they need to thrive and succeed.
“These major gifts become more important as we see the need for the Evans Scholarship grow each year,” said Bill Kingore, Senior Vice President, Development & Strategy. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished through the Match Play Challenge, but we understand the great responsibility we now have to expand the Evans Scholars Program to ensure we are not leaving deserving candidates behind.”
For more information on the Match Play Challenge, please contact Bill Kingore at 224-260-3712 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017 Match Play Partners
Jim Ashenden through the Estate of Jim Ashenden
Kenneth & Jacqueline Brody
Steve & Karis Colnitis
Glenda & Fritz Corrigan
Mr. & Mrs. Dominic Curcio
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene F. Fama
Rob & Georganne Foss
Paul Frymark & Sally Metzger
Jim & Mary Garard
Dan & Kathy Harmon
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel G. Helle
Martin P. & Julie Hughes
Mike & Lindy Keiser
King Family Foundation
Robert M. & Diane v.S. Levy
Jack & Jama Lintol
Thomas L. Mallman
Thomas & Susan Moran
Frank & Susan Morley
George & Vicki Muellner
Frank & Janet Nessinger
Dan & Vicki Pawlowski
Frank & Betsy Polizzi
Roger W. Sandstrom
Jack & Dottie Sauer
Tim Schwertfeger & Gail Waller
Elizabeth, Allan & Warren Shelden Fund
Larry & Monica Thuet
Reed & Rosemary Tupper