A pair of college standouts gunning for their second Sahalee Players Championship (SPC) trophy headline the top talent teeing it up in the 25th edition of the prestigious amateur competition being held July 1-3, 2019 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.
“Having two of the top players in college golf and the last two winners of the Sahalee Players Championship, Sahith Theegala and Cole Madey, headlining another packed field underscores the prominence of the event,” says Kevin White, tournament director.
Theegala, a standout at Pepperdine, comes into the SPC ranked No. 68 in the world (according to World Amateur Golf Rankings) and was a member of the prestigious 2018 Palmer Cup team, the amateur equivalent of the Presidents Cup.
Madey, of West Linn, Ore., is looking to defend his 2018 SPC championship, where he led from wire to wire, and birdied the final hole to earn a one-stroke victory over the stacked field. The UCLA star enters the 2019 championship ranked No. 82 in the world (according to WAGR) as he eyes what’s expected to be a promising future in professional golf. Madey won the 2017 Oregon Amateur, and was named the 2017 PNGA Player of the Year.
The Sahalee Players Championship was created by a dedicated group of members striving to bring major championships and the top professional and amateur players in the game to the club. That vision has been more than realized. Sahalee has hosted three professional majors: the 1998 PGA Championship, 2010 U.S. Senior Open, and the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship; as well as the 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational. The Sahalee Players Championship has been conducted at Sahalee since 1992, and other elite amateur championships held at Sahalee include the 1974 PNGA Men’s Amateur and 1978 Pacific Coast Amateur.
If history is any indication, a number of future tour winners will participate in the 25th Sahalee Players Championship.
“Turn on your TV and watch any tournament and you’re bound to see guys we’ve had the pleasure of hosting in the past,” White says. Dustin Johnson, Kyle Stanley, Bryson DeChambeau, Ryan Moore, Kevin Chappell, Xander Schauffele, Adam Hadwin and Andrew Putnam are just some of the notables who’ve won or competed in previous SPCs.
“Sahalee was always one of my favorite events of the year,” says Tacoma-native Andrew Putnam, a first-time PGA Tour winner last season. “I always made it a priority to be there. Sahalee is one of the most demanding courses in the Northwest and always requires you to be on top of every aspect of your game. I loved the challenge every time I teed it up there.”
Among the other notables in the field this year are BYU star Peter Kuest, a 2019 Palmer Cup team selectee ranked No. 96 in the world (according to WAGR), and reigning Washington State Amateur champion RJ Manke of Tacoma, a rising star at Pepperdine who just wrapped a stellar year that included victories in the 2019 Mexican Amateur Championship and West Coast Conference Championship.
“We have worked tirelessly the past year to recruit the top amateur players from around the world,” White says. “It’ll be thrilling to see how it plays out again this year with so many young guns in the field.”
Since its founding in 1992, Sahalee Country Club has worked closely with the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) to establish the SPC as a premier national event, according to Troy Andrew, CEO and executive director of the PNGA. The PNGA continues to administer the championship, led by PNGA Asst. Director of Rules and Competition Nate Schroeder.
“The vision was to keep our top-ranked amateurs in the Pacific Northwest from having to always go back East to get national attention for Walker Cup or international team consideration,” Andrew says. “It worked. The Sahalee Players Championship is now recognized as one of the premier amateur championships in the world because of the strong field it continues to attract.”
Beginning in 2000, the SPC and PNGA have hosted major amateur championships in back to back weeks at the beginning of July. Since its inception in 1899, the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship has developed a long and illustrious history as one of the top amateur competitions in the country. Played in the same format as the U.S. Amateur, the 118th PNGA Men’s Amateur will be held at Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Lakewood, Wash. on July 8-13, 2019. The assisting stroke-play course for the championship will be Chambers Bay, site of the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open. Past champions include Zac Blair (2011), Nick Flanagan (2003), Ben Crane (1997), Jeff Quinney (2000) and Tiger woods (1994). Visit thepnga.org or click here for more information.
The SPC again has a diverse, international flavor with players coming from as far as Peru, Singapore, Japan, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
The championship offers a rare chance for golf lovers to get up close and personal with some of golf’s rising stars. There is no admission fee, and spectators can walk the entire golf course and the driving range to see the talented field in action in an intimate setting, not to mention take in the splendor of Sahalee.
The championship schedule, list of competitors as well as tee times and pairings will be available at www.sahaleeplayerschampionship.com. Once the competition begins, live scoring will be available at that site as well.