Jones Cup first major on amateur golf’s New Year’s calendar

Jones Cup first major on amateur golf’s New Year’s calendar

PREVIEW: Jones Cup first major on amateur golf’s New Year’s calendar

A new year in amateur golf begins this week on the Georgian coast with the 19th Annual Jones Cup Invitational at Ocean Forest Golf Club on Sea Island.

The Jones Cup, a 54-hole event that kicks off on Friday, will be the first major tournament in 2023. The tournament consistently draws one of the deepest fields of the year, and this week’s event is no different. even though it takes place about a month earlier than usual.

This week’s field includes 18 of the top 50 players in the world and 40 of the top 100 according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

John Wade, the director of golf at Ocean Forest, links the overall strength of this year’s field to a few factors in addition to the history and prestige of the tournament which has been established since the Jones Cup began in early 2001 before OceanForest. hosting the Walker Cup for the first time later that same year.

“We attribute some of that to the fact that 2023 is a Walker Cup year,” Wade said, noting that the Walker Cup will be played this year at the Old Course in St. Andrews. “Also, college players are out of school for the holidays and looking to keep their games sharp for the upcoming spring season.”

This year’s tournament has been moved to the first week of January and Ocean Forest is set to undergo a renovation in early February, when the Jones Cup usually takes place. Work on the course is expected to take several months and Ocean Forest is expected to reopen in early fall, according to Wade.

“The main focus will be on refreshing the tees, greens and bunkers. They have reached their lifecycle and we wanted to take a proactive approach to ensure the success of Ocean Forest Golf Club for another 30 years,” Wade said. “The layout and difficulty level of the course will remain the same. Beau Welling Design is the chosen course design firm who have been challenged to maintain the integrity of the course while increasing playability for members.”

The prestige of the event is not lost among the players.

“The Jones Cup is one of the events that everyone looks forward to and knows is a great test of your game before you start the spring season,” said Sargent, who finished tied for 27th. at last year’s event before winning the NCAA Men’s Title.

“Ocean Forest is a great place, and St. Simons is a great place to spend a week. The strength of the ground is always very strong and attracts the best of the best. The opportunity to play and have a chance to win come Sunday is a special feeling, and a win would mean so much, especially given the prestige around the event.”

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Ten players in the top 30 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings are expected to be at Sea Island next week.

Gordon Sargent, who won the NCAA Individual Championship last year as a rookie at Vanderbilt, is the highest-rated player in the field, recording at No. 4 in the WAGR. He will be joined by World No. 5 and reigning Western Amateur Champion Austin Greaser and No. 7 David Ford, a sophomore in North Carolina, who won the Southern Amateur last July.

Caleb Surratt, who is ranked 13th in the WAGR, is also expected to play this week. The freshman from Tennessee won the inaugural Elite Amateur Series and finished second in the United States Junior last summer.

Other top rated players expected at Sea Island include Adrien Dumont De Chassart (12th), Fred Biondi (18th), Yuta Sugiura (21st), current Asia Pacific Amateur Champion Harrison Crowe (23rd), Ross Steelman (24th), reigning Japanese amateur champion Kohei Okada (25th), Maxwell Moldovan (27th) and Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen (30th) are also on the field, as is American amateur finalist Ben Carr, who plays collegiate at Georgia Southern .

Defending champion Palmer Jackson, a Notre Dame senior who is currently ranked 39th in the WAGR, returns to defend his title.

Reigning American Mid-Amateur Champion and Mid-Amateur of the Year Matthew McClean with fellow Irishman Hugh Foley, the man he defeated in Erin Hills to win the Robert T. Jones, and two-time defenseman East amateur champion, Evan Beck, leads the mid-amateur contingent.

Two interested spectators who will keep a close eye on this week’s events at Ocean Forest will be Mike McCoy and Stuart Wilson, who will captain the USA, UK and Ireland teams for the 2023 Walker Cup at the Old Course in St. Andrews. early September.

Of the 16 players who were invited to participate in Team USA’s practice round in early December, nine will be at the Jones Cup, while GB&I will also have nine candidates on the field.

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What’s at stake

As well as joining an illustrious group of former champions, the Jones Cup winner will receive a bye to the RSM Classic, the PGA Tour event hosted by the Davis Love Foundation at Sea Island in November.

“Having an exemption in the RSM Classic is a game-changer and helps differentiate the Jones Cup Invitational from other high-level amateur tournaments,” Wade noted. “The Jones Cup Invitational is one of the few amateur golf tournaments in the world where the champion is awarded a place in a PGA Tour event. We can’t thank (Sea Island touring pro) Davis Love III, (executive director of the Love Foundation) Mark Love, (RSM Tournament Director) Todd Thompson, the Davis Love Foundation and RSM enough for this opportunity.

“For young men hoping to play on the PGA Tour, the value gained from PGAU Points playing in the RSM Classic is significant and potentially life-changing.”

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Past champions

Jones Cup
2022 Past Champions Palmer Jackson
2021 Ludwig Aberg
2020 Davis Thompson
2019 Akshay Bhatia
2018 Garrett Barber
Braden Thornberry 2017
Handsome Hossler 2016
2015Austin Connelly
2014 Corey Conners
2013 Sean Dale
2012 Justin Thomas
2011 John Peterson
2010 Patrick Roseau
2009 Kyle Stanley
List Luke 2007
2005 Nicholas Thompson
2003Gregg Jones
2001 DJ Trahan The Jones Cup champion has an impressive list of past champions, including PGA Tour winners DJ Trahan (2001), Luke List (2007), Patrick Reed (2010), Justin Thomas (2012) and Corey Conners (2014).

Although the champion is crowned a few weeks earlier than usual at Ocean Forest, the reputation of the tournament remains stronger than ever.

“It’s now a ‘can’t miss’ event for many of the best amateur golfers in the world,” Wade said.

Wade also noted that of the 156 players who made up the field at last year’s US Open, 84 played in the Jones Cup while last year’s RSM Classic featured 54 Jones Cup alumni, including three former champions.

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Looking back on last year

Palmer Jackson battled high winds and cold temperatures to claim last year’s title on the Ocean Forest course.

The final round lasted nearly six hours as players simply tried to survive on the 7,308-yard course that played even longer in the gusty winds.

The Notre Dame standout survived a final round 76 to finish at 5 under 211 to earn a three-stroke win over Oklahoma’s Logan McAllister. Jackson and McAllister were the only players in the group of 84 to finish under par for the tournament.

“It was the toughest tournament round I’ve ever had to play,” Jackson said after the final round a year ago. “I think I’ve faced similar conditions before, but not on a golf course where you have to hit every hole straight. And, when the wind picked up here on the coast, it was a real challenge. Just making par felt like a birdie on a lot of holes.


The Jones Cup is probably the most important amateur spring competition in the United States, and the reason for this is the location and the strong American and international presence. The list of past champions is littered with PGA Tour stars, including Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Luke List, Kyle Stanley, Beau Hossler and many more.

This 54-hole individual stroke play event, inaugurated in 2001, is played at the Ocean Forest Golf Club. The Rees Jones design opened in 1995 and hosted the Georgia State Amateur Championship, the Southern Amateur Championship and the 2001 Walker Cup Match. The Jones Cup brings together many of the top amateurs from the United States and abroad for a three-day competition.

The Jones Cup was born out of a deep commitment to amateur golf from the AW Jones family, who founded the Cloister and Sea Island Golf Club in 1928. The Sea Island Golf Club has hosted seven USGA championships. The Jones Cup is another extension of the family’s strong involvement in amateur golf.

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