At the conclusion of yesterday’s West Penn Amateur at Oakmont, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Paul Schofield asked me where Nathan Smith’s victory at the Sunnehanna Amateur would rank among top wins by area amateur golfers on the so-called “amateur tour.” Here is a list:
John Birmingham, Oakmont, won 1970 Dixie Amateur, and was also a runner-up in the Porter Cup, Niagara Falls and the North & South at Pinehurst, NC.
Frank Fuhrer, III, Oakmont, Pittsburgh Field Club, won 1981 Western Amateur. This victory was key in his being selected to the 1981 Walker Cup team.
Bob Friend, Oakmont, won the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Monroe Amateurs while at LSU–the Northeast at Wannamoisett CC, near Providence being the most prestigious. He has the most victories in this series of competitions.
Vince Zachetti, Greensburg, won 1992 Mid-Atlantic Amateur.
Nathan Smith has also made the semi-finals in the Western Amateur when it was held at Point ‘O Woods G&CC, Benton Harbor, MI. It has since moved to Chicago area clubs and changed to a stroke play competition.
WPGA Player of the Year, 1994-2002, Sean Knapp, has been runner-up twice in the Sunnehanna.
Many of these competitions began after World War II, except for the Western Amateur, which was first played in 1899. The ‘amateur tour’ includes but is not limited to North and South, Sunnehanna, Northeast, Porter Cup, Monroe, Eastern, Western, and Mid-Atlantic, plus a few others.
Yesterday I mentioned to Schofield that I rank at the top and similarly Smith’s title at the Sunnehanna and Fuhrer’s win in the Western as the top area performances in these competitions.