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Anniversary Am

After 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, the U.S. Amateur Championship gets underway in earnest today with match play at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. It’s the nation’s oldest golf tournament (by one day over the U.S. Open). Here’s a little primer:

*It was here 100 years ago in 1913 that 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet shocked the sports world by upsetting British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff to claim the U.S. Open, helping to popularize golf in America.

*Founded in 1882, The Country Club is one of the five original clubs of the USGA, along with Newport (R.I.) Country Club, Shinnecock Hills, Chicago Golf Club, and St. Andrew's Golf Club. In addition to five U.S. Amateurs, it has hosted three U.S. Opens.

*The club has 27 holes, with the Main—or Composite Course—taking most of the holes from the Clyde and Squirrel nines, along with three from the Primrose Course, an executive nine designed by William S. Flynn and opened in 1927. The course will play to a par 70 of 7,310 yards.

*Except for an eight-year period (1965-1972) when it was contested at stroke play, the Amateur has been a match-play championship.

*The champions in all three Opens at The Country Club won in playoffs, including Julius Boros in 1963 and Curtis Strange in 1988.

*Last year’s champion, Steven Fox, missed qualifying for match play, as did four of the five Walker Cuppers in the tournament.

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