Sahalee Players Championship draws top-notch field for a 21st time
Amateur tournament now considered among the best in the world
Special to The Seattle Times
Sahalee Players Championship
Where: Sahalee Country Club on the Sammamish Plateau
Admission: Free, but spectators must comply with Sahalee policies banning cellphones, jeans and other denim clothing and shorts that aren’t golf length.
Field: 68 players
The number 21 has double significance as the Sahalee Players Championship is set to begin Monday.
This will be the 21st time the elite men’s amateur tournament has been played. And now in its third decade, the event is ranked the 21st best amateur golf tournament in the world by the international organization Scratch Players Group.
The Sahalee Players Championship (SPC) is ranked ahead of the U.S. Amateur Public Links and the California Amateur.
This year, the 68-man field for the three-day, 72-hole tournament at Sahalee Country Club includes Texas phenom Scottie Scheffler. He made headlines when he made the cut in the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic as a 17-year-old in May. The University of Texas recruit is ranked as the No. 2 amateur in the world in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).
“I’ve heard that it’s a good course and a good field,” Scheffler said in a telephone interview. “I’ve heard that the course is pretty tight and tree-lined.”
The No. 10 player in the WAGR standings, Bryson Dechambeau, is back after finishing tied for second last year in the SPC, won by Andrew Yun, the 2013 Pac-12 champion from Stanford.
“It’s one of the better amateur fields of the summer,” Dechambeau said of the SPC. The product of Clovis, Calif., will be a junior at Southern Methodist in the fall.
The field includes Xander Shauffele, a senior-to-be at San Diego State who recently won the California Amateur.
As usual, there is a strong international contingent, led by 15 golfers from Australia and five from New Zealand. One of the Kiwis, Tae Koth, won the Australian Amateur this year. No overseas player ever has won the SPC.
At one time this month, 13 entrants in the field of 68 were in the top 100 in the WAGR.
An expected contender with local ties is University of Washington standout Cheng-Tsung Pan, who has qualified for the British Open next month. His world ranking is 44, and it has been as high as No. 1. Pan is one of eight Huskies, including recruits, in the tournament.
SPC winners include Kyle Stanley, Jason Gore, Peter Uihlein, Nick Taylor, Daniel Summerhays, Ryan Moore, Chris Williams, Arron Oberholser and Casey Martin.
Five of the past 10 SPC champions won the Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate golfer.
The format calls for 36 holes Monday and 18 Tuesday and Wednesday.
The SPC record is the 16-under 272 (68-69-68-67) shot in 2004 by Moore, now on the PGA Tour.
• The second Ryan Moore Junior Championship, an American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) event, will be held at the RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood on Tuesday through Thursday. Moore will give a clinic Tuesday afternoon after the first round.
• The 80th annual Seattle Amateur will be Wednesday through Friday with round 1 at Jefferson Park, round 2 at Jackson Park and the final round at the West Seattle.