Butler, Almonte and Mogg tied for early lead in Washington State Amateur

Brian Mogg of Issaquah, Wash., Michael Butler of Bellingham, Wash. and Michael Almonte of Fircrest, Wash. all shot 6-under-par 64 to sit tied atop the leaderboard after the first round in the 92nd Washington State Amateur Championship, being held this week on the par-70 Gamble Sands course in Brewster, Wash.


Championship links:

Mogg, a recent graduate of Washington State University where he starred four years on the men’s golf team, got off to a hot start this morning, with birdies on his first four holes. He got it to 7-under after 14 holes before a lone bogey on the 225-yard par-3 16th.

“I’d not played here before yesterday’s practice round,” Mogg said. “When I got here yesterday I didn’t know much about the course, just saw some pictures. I loved the fescue grass, with the ball running everywhere. I knew the first four holes are gettable here, and I really wanted to get off to a fast start.”

Mogg’s stellar play in 2018 has so far got him invitations to play in the Sahalee Players Championship and Pacific Coast Amateur earlier this summer, and last month made it to the Round of 32 in the PNGA Men’s Amateur.

Almonte was just 1-under after seven holes, but then came home with five birdies over the final 11 holes.

This was the first round at Gamble for Almonte as well, and he said the course suits him. “Yes, absolutely it fit my game,” he said. “I was just driving it well, and that always helps. I think I had one 3-putt green, but other than that I didn’t have any issues with the big greens. I’ve been working a lot this summer, and so for me it’s just been golf and work this year, trying to get better.”

Almonte graduated from Seattle University in 2017, where he starred on the men’s golf team. Before that he attended Spokane Community College for two years, where he was named First Team All-NWAC. Prior to that, he attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.

“It was fun, I had everything working today, putted real well and kept it in play, so all in all a good day,” Butler said. “Got off to a really good start and kept it going.” Butler was 6-under after 13 holes and played the final five holes at even par.

Butler will be a senior on the Western Washington University men’s golf team, where in 2016 he was named the GNAC Freshman of the Year.

One shot back of Mogg, Butler and Almonte is Mitchell Baldridge of Edgewood, Wash. who shot 5-under 65. Last month, Baldridge, a recent graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, won the 117th PNGA Men’s Amateur.

Of the 120-player field, 31 players shot rounds of under par. The course normally plays to a par 72, but for this championship the fifth and 18 holes are being played as par 4s, rather than par 5s, with the fifth hole is playing as a 517-yard par 4, and the 18th hole as a 536-yard par 4.

The Washington State Amateur consists of 54 holes of stroke play, with the field cut to the low 60 players and ties after tomorrow’s second round. The three-day championship is being conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).

The first tee time for the second round is 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 8.

Click here for full details on the championship.

Click here to watch course architect David McLay Kidd discuss how competitors can best play Gamble Sands in this year’s championship. And click here to watch Gamble Sands’ General Manager Brady Hatfield discuss this year’s championship.

The state’s premier men’s amateur championship, which is a counting event toward the World Amateur Golf Ranking, traditionally attracts the region’s finest players.

Past champions of the Washington State Amateur include Fred Couples, Alex Prugh, Brock Mackenzie, Chris Williams, Kermit Zarley, John Bodenhamer, and Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famers Al Mengert, Bud Ward, Jack Westland and Harry Givan, among many others.

Opened in 2014 and designed by David McLay Kidd, Gamble Sands was immediately tagged as the No. 1 “Best New Course” by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, and is currently No. 37 on Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Public Courses.” Gamble Sands is managed by OB Sports Golf Management.

Founded in 1922, the WSGA is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving over 69,000 individual members at more than 550 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, the WSGA works to continually expand the game of golf to people of all backgrounds.

The WSGA also serves as a statewide representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.

To join the conversation on social media, follow WSGA Championships on Twitter @WSGAChampions and use the hashtag #WSGAMensAm for live tweets and updates.