Dogwood Invitational Lloyd Jefferson Go trophy

2017 Dogwood Invitational winner Lloyd Jefferson Go with the championship trophy. / Special-James H. Roberts

The 52nd annual Dogwood Invitational has an earlier date on the calendar, but promises to deliver the same high level of excitement and competition when it returns to historic Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, June 4 through 9.

The Dogwood Invitational is an elite amateur golf championship established to promote the game of amateur golf and support junior golf organizations. The tournament is an internationally ranked top amateur golf event.

It will be played nearly a month earlier than previous years, a change that has been embraced by the competitors. The field includes defending champion Lloyd Jefferson Go, a native of the Philippines and graduate of Seton Hall University, and many of the top amateur players in the United States and the rest of the world.

The stellar field also includes 2018 Palmer Cup competitor S.M. Lee, 2016 Dogwood champion Charles Huntzinger, 2017 Georgia Amateur champion Justin Connelly, 2016 Georgia Amateur champion Colin Bowles and 2017 Dogwood runner-up Luke Schniederjans of Georgia Tech.

Local colleges will be well represented in the field. There are competitors from the University of Georgia (Will Chandler, Zach Healy, Jack Larkin, Trent Phillips, Spencer Ralston, Davis Thompson), Georgia Tech (James Clark III, Andy Ogletree, Ben Smith and Schniederjans), Kennesaw State (Jake Fendt), Georgia Southern (Alexander DeRosa, Steven Fisk, Jake Maples), Emory University (Matt Organisak, Connor Yakubov), Oglethorpe University (Jacob Arnett), Georgia State University (Nickolaus Budd), Berry College (Wesley Heston) and North Georgia (Harry White).

The schedule for tournament week is:

o June 4: open qualifier

o June 5: Dogwood Am-Am, followed by an awards ceremony, Honorary Start and tournament kickoff reception.

o June 6: first round, followed by long drive contest and the Taste of the Dogwood.

o June 7: second round

o June 8: third round, with the 54-hole cut to low 40 and ties, followed by the Dogwood junior golf clinic.

o June 9: final round, followed by an awards ceremony at 3 p.m.

This year’s honorary opening shots will be struck by Druid Hills member, 12-time Atlanta Amateur champion and Georgia Golf Hall of Fame member Charles Harrison, and former PGA Tour member, Georgia Amateur champion and golf course architect Bill Bergin.

The Dogwood Invitational has the additional responsibility to support the Dogwood Golf Foundation, which directs its proceeds to the Druid Hills Golf Club Foundation and the Georgia Junior Golf Association.

The Druid Hills Golf Club Foundation oversees the Wayne Reynolds Scholarship, awarded to deserving students who have successfully participated in a junior golf program in Georgia. The scholarship, established by longtime Druid Hills Golf Club member Wayne Reynolds, makes annual grants to help students to help defray the cost of higher education. Since its inception in 1998, the Reynolds Scholarship has been awarded to 32 junior golfers.

Georgia Junior Golf is a program administered by the Georgia State Golf Association. It was formed when Atlanta Junior Golf merged with the GSGA’s Sectional program to create a statewide platform for junior golf. Atlanta Junior Golf began in 1974 and has helped introduce more than 10,000 junior golfers to the game.

Former winners of the Dogwood include U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, multiple PGA Tour winners Brian Harman, Georgia Golf Hall of Famer Allen Doyle and numerous Walker Cup members.

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