Sunnehanna Country Club, host of the Sunnehanna Amateur

Sunnehanna Amateur makes upward move
By Mike Dudurich • November 29, 2021

Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.

It’s long been said you’re known by the company you keep.

And if that’s the case, the Sunnehanna Amateur is one of amateur golf’s elite.

But that’s not news to those involved with the event, which was held for the 69th time a couple months ago.

“It’s a remarkable achievement for an event that’s run by all volunteers,” said John Yerger, Co-Chairman of the event. “Very committed volunteers. We believe we’re one of the best tournaments in not only the country but the world.”

In the latest WAGR rankings of amateur golf events, the Sunnehanna Amateur has moved into the sixth spot.

And just who lives in this neighborhood?

From the top: U.S. Amateur, NCAA Division 1 Championship, Western Amateur, Jones Cup Invitational and the Cabo Collegiate at TPC San Antonio.

Check out those names again. The crème de la crème of annual tournaments that college golfers long to play in. These are the major championships of amateur golf and that was never more evident than when the U.S. Amateur was played at Oakmont Country Club in August.

When James Piot won the Amateur, he became the 34th player in history to compete at Sunnehanna and win the U.S. Am. That’s just one of the many numbers and statistics that when taken in totality, provide all the evidence necessary to prove the ranking this club and event receive.

“We know we’re never going to compete with these great championships,” Yerger said. “But there are things that we have that makes our event special. The community has gotten behind this event in an amazing way. We’re known for families opening their homes to the players. And the number of fans who have shown up to watch in recent years is getting larger and larger. All of this is an affirmation of the things we’ve been doing. They’ve kept us relevant.”

The bottom line is that sixth on the WGAR rankings is the highest the Sunnehanna Amateur. Can they achieve an even higher ranking? Who knows?

The Am doesn’t get field sizes like 312, 156. etc. There would have been 100 players in the field, but there was a late withdrawal.

The players who make the trip to Johnstown get to play a true championship course at its most difficult, spend time with very hospitable family and get to walk the hallways of a clubhouse that is home to great memorabilia that celebrates the Am’s the history of the event.

Many of the greats of the game have played at Sunnehanna, and that continues today with Colin Morikawa, the 2019 Am champion and the 2021 British Open champion.

With a sixth-place ranking in the word already earned, the Sunnehanna Amateur looks upward with fifth place, the Cabo Collegiate at TPC San Antonio, in their sights.

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.