Joe Highsmith sets course record to seize lead at Washington State Men's Amateur

Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash. shot 6-under 65 in today’s second round of the 91st Washington State Men’s Amateur, setting a tournament course record on the par-71 Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum, Wash. He jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a 3-shot lead over Derek Bayley of Rathdrum, Idaho, heading into tomorrow’s final round.

The championship is being conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) and consists of 54 holes of stroke play. Yesterday’s first round was held on the Rope Rider course at Suncadia Resort.

The 120-player field has been cut to the low 60 players and ties for tomorrow’s final round, which will be held at Tumble Creek. The leaders will tee off at 11:00 a.m. PDT.

Final round tee times and pairings can be found here.

Click here for full details on the championship.

To follow along with live scoring, visit Follow the championship on Twitter at @WSGAChampions for live updates and news, and use the hashtag #WSGAMensAm.

Highsmith, the Bellarmine Prep rising senior and 2016 WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year, didn’t record higher than a four on any hole in today’s record-setting round.

With temperatures nearing 100 degrees in the afternoon, and with today’s round taking place on the difficult Tom Doak-designed Tumble Creek layout, Highsmith was one of only three players to break par on the day.

“I got off to sort of a slow start today, but birdied three in a row to finish the front nine,” he said. “I didn’t make any bogeys, and birdied all the par-5s, so that set me up pretty good.”

In last year’s championship, Highsmith had started the final round with a 4-shot lead, but bogeyed the final hole in regulation to miss a playoff by one shot. He has set his sights on this year’s title. His season so far this year has been prepping him for this championship, winning the individual (and team) WIAA 4A High School State Championship in the spring, and then qualifying for last month’s U.S. Junior Amateur, making it to the Round of 32 before bowing to eventual champion Noah Goodwin.

Bayley was co-leader at the start of today’s second round after firing a 5-under 67 on the Rope Rider course in yesterday’s first round. He shot even-par today at Tumble Creek.

Bayley, a rising senior on the Washington State University men’s golf team, is also setting his sights on this championship. Last year, he lost in a marathon 6-hole playoff (which Highsmith had missed out on), and is seeking to close the deal this year. Last month he finished runner-up in the PNGA Men’s Amateur.

A few other players still in the hunt are Sean Fitzpatrick of Mill Creek, Wash. The co-leader (with Bayley) after yesterday’s first round, Fitzpatrick sits tied for third. Earlier this year he won the Capitol City Amateur (in Lacey, Wash.) and had qualified for last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Also tied for third is Tyler Salsbury of Enumclaw, Wash. A recent graduate of the University of Washington where he played on the men’s golf team, Salsbury won this championship in 2014.

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

The nationally-acclaimed Tumble Creek Club has been the site of several U.S. Open local and sectional qualifiers, and the Rope Rider course was designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy.

Founded in 1922, the WSGA is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving over 68,000 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.