The Washington State Golf Association has officially announced Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. as the host site for the 87th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship. This will be the first WSGA championship held at Chambers. The dates of the championship are June 18-20, 2013.
“We are very excited,” said Matt Allen, General Manager at Chambers Bay. “It’s a natural continuation of the strong relationship that Chambers Bay and Pierce County have with the WSGA, going back to the U.S. Amateur at The Home Course, and prior.”
The championship traditionally attracts the finest players in the state. 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 now a 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 exposure and word of mouth resulting from the nearly 250,000 expected spectators and millions of worldwide viewers are likely to bring increased activity to the course, as well as surrounding businesses. Pierce County is currently in collaboration with the USGA and Robert Trent Jones II golf course architects to make improvements to the course in preparation for the best players in the world.
“What’s unique about Chambers Bay is that it will do as good a job as any course of identifying the best players,” said Allen. “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.”
Designed by Robert Trent Jones II and opened for play in 2007, Chambers Bay provides unparalleled views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and an unrivaled, Scottish-style environment that tests the player’s imagination and shot-making. The 7,585 yard, par 72 layout, located just outside Tacoma and only 35 minutes from Seattle, sits among windswept dunes and native fescue grasses, demanding creativity and strategy, as each player must play to his or her strengths.
“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, Senior Director of Rules and Competition for the WSGA.
The Washington State Men’s Amateur will also be experiencing a bit of a facelift in 2013, 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. “We are excited at this time when the WSGA is revitalizing the format,” said Allen. “We wanted to help with that and feel Chambers Bay will bring additional exposure such that it would be the right time to embark on the new approach.”
Another change to the championship’s format relates to the field size, which will be decreased to 120 players. Of those 120 players, roughly half the field will earn exemptions into the championship based on their qualifications. The WSGA is currently in the process of preparing the exemption criteria. The remaining players must qualify at one of two qualifying sites. The West qualifier will be held June 5 on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash., while the East qualifier is set for June 6 at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash.
“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.”
Allen agreed. “This is perfect timing,” he said. “More importantly, the Washington State Amateur should be every bit as strong as the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship and other top amateur championships in the country.”