Charlie Woods wins qualifier to secure spot in U.S. Junior Amateur championship


Charlie Woods is set to compete at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan next month.

Woods shot a 1-under 71 at a U.S. Junior Amateur championship qualifier at Eagle Trace Golf Club in Florida on Wednesday. Woods, the 15-year-old son of legendary golfer Tiger Woods, won the qualifier by one shot and will take part in the July 22-27 tournament at Oakland Hills Country Club's North and restored South courses.

The 264-player field comprised of the top golfers younger than 19 will play two rounds of stroke play on both courses before the top 64 enter match play on the South Course to settle the championship. The winner will get an exemption into the 2025 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

There are already 78 players who received an exemption into the field as the top-ranked amateur golfers in the world, including one who'll visit Metro Detroit next week: 15-year-old Miles Russell, on a sponsor exemption to the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. The rest of the 264-player field will be filled through top finishers at qualifiers, like Charlie Woods, who finished strong with three birdies between holes 13 and 16 to win after starting the back nine with a bogey and double bogey.

"I look forward to seeing the next generation of future golf stars at Oakland Hills in July competing for the most coveted championship in junior golf," Junior Amateur chairman and former Oakland Hills president Jeff Judge said on Tuesday before listing some of the notable exemptions such as Russell.

Woods will try to etch his name in the storied history of the 108-year-old course that will return to crowning champions in the coming years. The Junior Amateur will be the first of eight USGA championships at Oakland Hills from 2024-51, including four U.S. Opens.

Charlie Woods during a U.S. Open practice round at Pinehurst.
Charlie Woods during a U.S. Open practice round at Pinehurst.

"It started 100 years ago, but our kind of new partnership and then seven more championships and hopefully more to come after that," USGA director of the Junior Amateur Rob Doone said on Oakland Hills' relationship with golf's governing body. "The Junior Amateur has become a pretty amazing pathway to great achievement. Numerous past champions have gone on to do unbelievable things."

Woods family history at Oakland Hills Country Club

Woods will walk the slopes of Oakland Hills 20 years after his dad was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that lost to Europe there. Tiger Woods played with Phil Mickelson in the two's only partnership in a long Ryder Cup history together, but lost both matches they played to Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, then Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood.

Tiger's other tournament played in Bloomfield Township was the 1996 U.S. Open, in which he posted a 294 (76-69-77-72) over four days in his last U.S. Open as an amateur, just months after winning a record-setting third straight U.S. Amateur. Tiger, then 20 years old, briefly enjoyed a share of the lead in the first round, but played the final five holes of the South Course nine over par.

He missed the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills following season-ending knee surgery after his epic playoff victory in the U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, won six straight USGA championships: The Junior Amateur (1991-93) and U.S. Amateur (1994-96).

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Charlie Woods qualifies for US Junior Amateur championship