118th WPGA Amateur Championship returns to Fox Chapel Golf Club
By WPGA • July 1, 2018
A field of 84 will start the 118th WPGA Amateur Championship and Fox Chapel Golf Club to compete for the William C. Fownes Trophy starting tomorrow. Fox Chapel last hosted the West Penn Amateur in 2006.
In the 2006 championship William Miller became the third player to win the championship as a junior. The other two were Fred Brand Jr. and Arnold Palmer. Palmer and Brand remain the only players in Association history to win the Amateur and Junior in the same year.
Miller’s 36-hole score of 68-62–130 remains a championship record. His second round 62 set the course record and also remains the 18-hole championship record. Miller's course record was tied by Olin Browne at the 2012 Champions Tour Senior Players Championship.
Sean Knapp, the region’s most recent National Champion with his victory in the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, will be competing for his eighth title. His first win came in 1988 at Green Oaks Country Club and his last victory was at Westmoreland Country Club in 2003 that cap a run of six straight titles.
Arnold Palmer, 1949-1952, Bob Reilly 1960-1963, and Nathan Smith, 2007-2010 have all won the championship four times in a row and William C. Fownes, 1909-1911, and John Birmingham, 1966-1968, both have won three straight times.
Additional former champions in the field include Ralph LItrenta in 1995 at New Castle Country Club, Rick Stimmel in 1997 at the Pittsburgh Field Club, Greg Podufal in 2012 at The Kahkwa Club, and Trent Karlik in 2014 at Penn State Golf Courses.
Fox Chapel will host the Amateur for the fifth time. The first, conducted in 1952, was won by Arnold Palmer. J.F. Curti followed with a victory in 1958, John Birmingham in 1967, and William Miller in 2006.
Oakmont Country Club, host of the 2019 championship, and Allegheny Country Club have each hosted the most Amateurs with 13 each.
A total of 215 exempt and qualifying players entered the championship. The only championships when more entered were held at Oakmont in 1999 and 2011 with 260 each.
Started in 1899 and played all but two years, 1917-18 during World War I, the West Penn Amateur is one of the oldest championships in the country. Winners include six USGA champions—Eben Byers (U.S. Amateur), William C. Fownes (U.S. Amateur), Carl Kauffmann (U.S. Amateur Public Links), Sean Knapp (U.S. Senior Amateur, USGA State Team), Jim Masserio (U.S. Junior Amateur), Arnold Palmer (U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open), and Nathan Smith (U.S. Mid-Amateur, U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, USGA State Team). The most frequent winners are Fownes, 8, Sean Knapp, Pittsburgh National, 7, and Jack Benson, South Hills, 6, Byers, 6, and Palmer 5.
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.