In the East qualifier, held at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. for the 87th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship, Brandon Agnew of Snohomish, Wash. shot a 4-under par 68 to take medalist honors in leading 31 competitors who advance from this qualifier to the championship proper, which will be held June 18-20, 2013, at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. The championship is conducted by the Washington State Golf Association.
Agnew, 29, had seven birdies in his round. Only four players in the field of 69 managed to break par. Matthew Crockett of Yakima, Riley Hayfield of Kennewick, and Alex Pounds of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho all tied for second by carding rounds of 1-under par 71. Wine Valley, which last summer played host to the 111th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship, was there for the taking with the qualifier being played in calm and sunny conditions, but few players could take advantage.
Two qualifiers were held for those vying for a spot in the championship. In yesterday’s West qualifier, held at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash., Mike Rutledge of Fall City, Wash. took medalist honors in leading 46 players who advanced to the championship proper.
The size of the field in the championship proper will be 120 players, 43 of which have earned exemption into the championship based on criteria previously set forth. The remainder of the field will be filled with players who advanced through the West and East qualifying sites.
The state’s premier amateur championship traditionally attracts the region’s finest players. Last year’s champion was Chris Williams, who dominated the field in winning by 10 strokes on the Eagles Pride Golf Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Williams, from Moscow, Idaho and who just finished his senior on the University of Washington men’s golf team, is currently the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, according the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He is the 2012 WSGA Men’s Player of the Year, a title he also won in 2011.
Past champions of the Washington State Men’s Amateur include Fred Couples, Alex Prugh, Brock Mackenzie, Kermit Zarley, John Bodenhamer, and PNGA Hall of Famers Al Mengert, Bud Ward, Jack Westland and Harry Givan.
Fresh off hosting the U.S. Amateur in 2010, Chambers Bay will serve as the venue for the 115th U.S. Open from June 18-21, 2015, marking the first time the U.S. Open will be held in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington State Men’s Amateur will be the first WSGA championship held at Chambers Bay, and the first large-scale championship held on the course since it completed its renovations in preparation for the 2015 U.S. Open.
“What’s unique about Chambers Bay is that it will do as good a job as any course of identifying the best players,” said Matt Allen, general manager at Chambers Bay. “It’s imminently fair and playable, because there are no forced carries or trees, and yet the layout is such that it can be set up to host a U.S. Amateur and a U.S. Open.”
“With all the new changes in preparation for the Open, Chambers Bay was really excited to host this championship and see what the golf course can do,” said Scotty Crouthamel, WSGA Senior Director of Rules and Competition.
The 87th edition of the Washington State Men’s Amateur will be experiencing changes of its own, as the WSGA Championship Committee voted to modify the championship’s format. The new format calls for 54-holes of stroke play, with a cut to the top 60 and ties after 36 holes. Another change to the championship’s format relates to the field size, which will be decreased to 120 players.
“This is the premier amateur championship in the state and we are thrilled to have Chambers Bay host in 2013,” said Crouthamel. “The change in format coupled with the caliber of Chambers Bay should attract the top amateurs and make for an extremely exciting championship.”