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USGA opens entries for 2017 U.S. Juniors and Ams

Applications are now being accepted for four of the USGA’s oldest and most prestigious championships – the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior – and will remain open into June.

Photo courtesy Jeff Haynes/USGA

These four championships annually draw entry numbers in the thousands, attracting competitors from throughout the U.S. and the world. Here are some interesting facts and figures about these championships:

The defending champions for both the U.S. Junior Amateur (Min Woo Lee) and U.S. Girls’ Junior (Eun Jeong Seong) are eligible to return for a chance at history.

Lee, of Australia, can join Tiger Woods (3) and Jordan Spieth (2) as the only multiple winners of the U.S. Junior Amateur. The reason he can return is that last year, the USGA announced that the maximum age for both of its junior championships would rise from 17 to 18 for 2017. Lee turned 18 a few days after his victory last July at The Honors Course.

The USGA also made a couple of other changes to the U.S. Junior Amateur qualification process, lowering the maximum Handicap Index® to 4.4 and reducing sectional qualifiers from 36 holes to 18 holes. This year’s championship, the 70th, will be contested July 17-22 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan., site of the 2001 U.S. Women’s Amateur and 2007 U.S. Senior Amateur, which is expected to measure 7,002 yards (par 71) for the competition. This will be just the second Junior Amateur contested in Kansas, the first being 57 years ago at Milburn Golf & Country Club in Overland Park.

Seong, 17, has a chance to join World Golf Hall of Fame member Hollis Stacy as the only three-time winners of the U.S. Girls’ Junior. Last summer, Seong became the first player to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur in the same year, prevailing at The Ridgewood Country Club and Rolling Green Golf Club, respectively.

The 69th Girls’ Junior will be conducted July 24-29 at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., which will become the 14th facility to have hosted both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior. The maximum Handicap Index for the Girls’ Junior also was lowered this year, to 9.4.

For only the fourth time in its history, the U.S. Women’s Amateur is being conducted in Southern California, and it is a return visit to San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, which hosted the region’s most recent U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1993. USGA officials have tentatively set up the course at 6,423 yards and a par of 72 for the 117th championship, to be played Aug. 7-13.

The U.S. Amateur is coming to Los Angeles for just the second time as historic Riviera Country Club will host along with Bel-Air Country Club, the site of the championship’s only previous visit in 1976. Philadelphia native George Thomas designed both courses, as well as The Los Angeles Country Club, which will host the 2017 Walker Cup Match in September. Riviera, site of the 1948 U.S. Open won by Ben Hogan, is set to measure 7,272 yards (par 70), while Bel-Air will play 6,722 yards (par 70) during the stroke-play rounds of the 117th U.S. Amateur, which will be contested Aug. 14-20.