Bandon Dunes Golf Resort will add another chapter to its growing legacy of USGA amateur competitions starting Monday with the staging of the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. It will be the eighth different USGA event held at the resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon coast.
The 2022 Junior Amateur also is the first of 13 USGA championships to be contested at Bandon Dunes over the next 23 years. The long-term agreement was announced a year ago and the list includes a Walker Cup in 2029 and a Curtis Cup in 2038, as well as two additional U.S. Amateurs and three U.S. Women’s Amateurs.
This week, 264 of the finest male golfers under the age of 19 are hoping to hoist the U.S. Junior Amateur Trophy, joining legendary names such as Johnny Miller, Tiger Woods, David Duval, Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler, all of whom have gone on to win major championships. Runners-up who went on to capture majors are Ken Venturi, Al Geiberger, Andy North, Scott Simpson, Trevor Immelman and Justin Thomas.
Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails, two of the resort’s five 18-hole championship layouts, will serve as the stroke-play venues, after which the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play at Bandon Dunes, the resort’s original course designed by David McLay Kidd.
Golf Channel will have live coverage of Friday’s semifinals and the afternoon 18 of Saturday’s 36-hole championship match. Here are 3 Things to Know for stroke play:
Winning one U.S. Junior Amateur is hard. Doing it multiple times is even more of a challenge, especially given the small window of opportunity. Nick Dunlap will try to become just the third player in history to claim more than one championship, and the first since the USGA raised the age limit to 18 in 2017. The incoming University of Alabama freshman triumphed last year at The Country Club of North Carolina, defeating Cohen Trolio, 3 and 2, in the final.
Now he seeks to join Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth as a multiple champion. It won’t be easy. Min Woo Lee, a two-time winner on the DP World Tour, fell in the Round of 64 in his title defense in 2017. Kevin Tway reached the semifinals in 2006 after winning on his 17th birthday a year earlier. The late Michael Brannan, who triumphed at age 15 in 1971, lost in the title match in 20 holes two years later. Jim Liu, the 2010 champion and the youngest winner in history, had a golden chance to repeat in 2012, but lost a 5-up lead in the 36-hole final.
It reinforces just how impressive Woods’ three consecutive titles were from 1991-93.
Anyone who has ever played links golf the key role the elements play, especially wind. Rare is the round at Bandon Dunes that’s devoid of breezes, and winds in the 10-20-mph range are expected on Monday. How well these talented players can judge shots in the typical gusts will be a factor in their championship fate.
At Bandon, what the ball does after it hits the ground is just as important as what it does in the air. This brand of golf affords the competitors plenty of creativity. Shots will need to be executed differently depending on the wind direction. While it can produce lots of exciting golf, it can also lead to plenty of puzzled looks when shots don’t end up quite as planned.
In layman’s terms, controlling trajectory will be as critical as controlling emotions.
Though the vast majority of the U.S. Junior Amateur field are not household names, ardent followers might have heard the surnames Maggert, Cantlay and Claxton. Jake Maggert is the son of three-time PGA Tour winner and 2015 U.S. Senior Open champion Jeff Maggert, who also had a penchant for the U.S. Open, with seven top 10s and a pair of solo thirds. Like his dad, Jake will play his college golf at Texas A&M. When Jake qualified for this championship in Texas, family friend and 1995 U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin was on his bag.
Jack Cantlay is the younger brother of reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay. The incoming Long Beach State freshman is 11½ years younger than his more-famous sibling, who went to UCLA. But just like Patrick, he is making his USGA championship debut in his final year of eligibility for the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Parker Claxton is the son of former PGA Tour/Nationwide Tour pro Paul Claxton, who tied for 23rd in the 2005 U.S. Open and earned two victories on the Nationwide Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour). He is now a club professional in Georgia who has qualified for one PGA Championship and four Senior PGA Championships.
There is another familiar name, at least to college basketball fans: Cole Rueck’s father, Scott, has guided the Oregon State women’s basketball team to seven straight NCAA Tournament berths, including the Final Four in 2016. Rueck, of Corvallis, is one of four Oregon residents in the field.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.