Patrick Cantlay, 19, Los Alamitos, Calif.
Cantlay had a stellar freshman season at UCLA, winning three collegiate events and being named Pac-10 Golfer of the Year, first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10. He was named the recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Award, presented to the NCAA Division I player of the year, and the Phil Mickelson Award, presented to the freshman of the year.
Cantlay continued his strong play into the summer. He was the low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club, tying for 21st place. He shot 60 in the second round of the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour, which set the record for the lowest round in a PGA Tour event by an amateur. He went on to finish 24th. He also had a top-25 finish at PGA Tour’s AT&T National at Aronomink outside of Philadelphia and tied for ninth at the RBC Canadian Open.
Prior to the Canadian Open, he won the 2011 Southern California Golf Association Amateur in July and was the runner-up at the Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club in suburban Chicago.
Prior to UCLA, Cantlay had an exceptional junior career highlighted by the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, where he reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Peter Uihlein. He also played in the 2009 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur. Cantlay was named High School Golfer of the Year by the Orange County Register in 2009 and 2010 and won the 2008 Junior America’s Cup and Hogan Cup.
Harris English, 22, Thomasville, Ga.
English won the 2011 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course in July, becoming the second amateur (along with Russell Henley, a fellow University of Georgia Bulldog) to win on the Nationwide Tour this season…One week earlier, English won the Southern Amateur at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club near Tampa, Fla…Advanced to the semifinals of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links in June at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, falling to eventual champion Corbin Mills…Was a quarterfinalist in the 2010 APL at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C...Tied for sixth at 2011 Porter Cup.
Enjoyed an outstanding career at Georgia, where he won four events and was a three-time All-American, earning first-team honors his junior season. He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors all four years and was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2008. English was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in each of his four years and was named a scholar athlete by Georgia in his senior season.
In 2007, English became the third-youngest winner of the Georgia Amateur behind Bob Jones (1916) and Charles Yates (1931). He reached the round of 16 in the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay and advanced to match play in 2007. English also played in the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2006, reaching the second round of match play.
Russell Henley, 22, Macon, Ga.
Henley became the second amateur in history to win a Nationwide Tour event when he won the Stadion Classic at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., in May. Henley continued his strong play into the summer by qualifying for the U.S. Open, where he made the cut and finished tied for 42nd. He tied for 16th place and also shared low-amateur honors with Scott Langley at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.
Henley had tremendous success at the University of Georgia, winning seven collegiate events, which tied the school record set by Chris Kirk. In 2010, he was named Golfweek’s National Player of the Year, Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Year and won the Fred Haskins Award as the nation’s outstanding collegiate golfer after winning four events, including the SEC Championship.
Henley also played in the 2010 and 2011 Palmer Cups and had a 3-1 record to help the United States defeat Europe 13-11 in 2010 at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The U.S. also won the 2011 competition at The Stanwich Club in Connecticut…He won the 2008 and 2009 Georgia Amateurs and qualified for the 2010 U.S. Amateur…Advanced to the round of 16 at the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Patrick Rodgers, 18, Avon, Ind.
It has been a strong 2011 season for the incoming Stanford University freshman. Since graduating from high school in the spring, he has posted a slew of top-five finishes, highlighted by his come-from-behind victory at the Porter Cup at the end of July at Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston, N.Y. Rodgers posted rounds of 68-63-69-68 and then rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to edge Wesley Bryan for the title.
Rodgers also had runner-up finishes at the Players Amateur, Junior Invitational and Terra Cotta Invitational. He added a fourth-place finish in the Northeast Amateur and finished third at the Jones Cup Invitational. In early August, he finished second in the 72-hole stroke-play portion of the 109th Western Amateur at North Shore C.C. in suburban Chicago, but lost in the first round of the match-play portion of the competition to his future Stanford teammate, Andrew Yun, in 21 holes.
Rodgers won the Indiana State High School Championship as a junior in 2010 and is a two-time HP Scholastic All-American. He was named a First-Team Rolex Junior All-American in 2009 and 2010 by the American Junior Golf Association and was Honorable Mention in 2008. Rodgers’ AJGA résumé includes nine top-10 finishes and a win at the SAP Junior Open in 2009. He has played in three USGA championships, advancing to the round of 16 in the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur, the round of 32 in the 2008 U.S. Junior and qualifying for the 2010 U.S. Amateur.
Academics are important to Rodgers, who ranked third in his class at Avon High School out of 582 students. He has written blogs about his experiences in junior golf for Golfweek magazine.
Nathan Smith, 33, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Smith is a three-time winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, in 2003, 2009 and 2010. He defeated Tim Hogarth in the 2010 final at Atlantic Golf Club, 7 and 5. Smith, along with Jay Sigel, is one of only two players to have won three Mid-Amateur championships.
This summer, Smith won the Sunnehanna Amateur in a four-hole playoff over Zac Blair and Lee Bedford. He also tied for 14th at the Azalea Invitational. Smith earned an invitation to the Masters because of his win at the Mid-Amateur, but he missed the cut. He also competed in the Western Amateur and just missed making the match-play cut (final 16).
Smith was a member of the victorious 2009 USA Walker Cup Team that defeated Great Britain and Ireland at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. At the Walker Cup Matches, he teamed with Peter Uihlein, and the pair went 2-0-0 in foursomes. Smith was also teammates with Uihlein on the 2010 USA Copa de las Americas Team.
Smith also helped Pennsylvania win the 2009 USGA Men’s State Team championship at Country Club of St. Albans outside of St. Louis. Along with Trip Kuehne, Smith is one of two golfers to play on a victorious Walker Cup Team, win a Mid-Amateur and win a USGA Men’s State Team championship in the same year. He advanced to the first round of match play at the 2009 U.S. Amateur and missed the match-play cut in a playoff at the 2010 U.S. Amateur.
Smith was a former Division III All-American at Allegheny College and works at Executive Wealth Counselors in Pittsburgh.
Peter Uihlein, 21, Orlando, Fla.
Uihlein is one of the most decorated amateur golfers in the United States, highlighted by his 4-and-2 victory at the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay over David Chung…Momentum carried into his junior season at Oklahoma State, where his strong play earned him the 2011 Ben Hogan Award, which is given by the Golf Coaches Association of America to the top men’s college golfer in any division on the basis of his performance in all collegiate and amateur competitions during a 12-month period. Uihlein was also named Big 12 Player of the Year and first-team All-Big 12. In his career at Oklahoma State, Uihlein has totaled five victories and has two top-three finishes at the NCAA Championship.
Uihlein played in the 2009 Walker Cup, where he had a 4-0-0 record and helped lead the USA to victory at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. His singles victory on Sunday clinched the Cup for the USA. He also helped the USA finish third at the World Amateur Team Championship in Argentina last fall and was a member of the 2010 USA Copa de las Americas Team that won the overall title (men and women) in Argentina in January of 2010.
In 2010, Uihlein won the Sahalee Players Championship and won his second Dixie Amateur. That same year, he also received the Mark H. McCormack Medal, which is presented by The R&A to the top-ranked golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of the amateur season.
This summer, Uihlein won the Northeast Amateur by three strokes. Having won the U.S. Amateur, he gained exemption into the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open Championship, making the cut and finishing T-48 in the British Open at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, and missing the cut in the other two. He was a quarterfinalist in 2009 U.S. Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
This summer, he won the Northeast Amateur, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Western Amateur and tied for ninth at 2011 Nationwide Tour’s Children’s Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.
Chris Williams, 20, Moscow, Idaho
Williams will be a junior at the University of Washington this fall. He owns three career collegiate wins, which is one shy of the school record. This past season, he won the Oregon Duck Invitational. Williams won the Phil Mickelson Award in 2010, which is given to the nation’s best freshman golfer. That year, he won two collegiate events and was also named Pacific-10 Conference Freshman of the Year.
This summer, Williams was the medalist at the Gold Mountain Golf Club sectional in Bremerton, Wash., and qualified for the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda., Md. His strong play earned him a spot on the victorious 2011 U.S. Palmer Cup Team, where he was undefeated and helped the United States defeat the European team.
He then went on to shoot a pair of 66s to close out a win at the Pacific Coast Amateur in late July before earning medalist honors with a 16-under 268 total at the 109th Western Amateur Championship held at North Shore Country Club in suburban Chicago. Williams carded rounds of 66-66-70-66 to win the 72-hole stroke-play portion of the competition by three strokes over Patrick Rodgers before losing in the first round of match play to Patrick Cantlay.
Williams also won the 2011 Sahalee Players Championship by one stroke over Zac Blair and future University of Washington teammate Cheng-Tsung Pan.
Williams was a quarterfinalist at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links and lost to eventual champion Lion Kim. He also advanced to the round of 32 at the 2011 APL at Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Ore.