Joe Highsmith wins Washington State Men's Amateur

Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash. shot 1-under 70 in today’s final round to win the 91st Washington State Men’s Amateur, held on the par-71 Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum, Wash.

All smiles for the Washington State Men’s Amateur Champion

The 54-hole championship was conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).

Click here for complete final hole-by-hole scoring, and click here for full details on the championship.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at @WSGAChampions and use the hashtag #WSGAMensAm.

For Highsmith, today’s victory was something of sweet revenge. In last year’s championship, he began the final round with a 4-stroke lead but missed out of a playoff by one shot when he bogeyed the 18th hole.

This year, the Bellarmine Prep rising senior began the final round with a 3-stroke lead, and played a steady round in 101-degree heat to hold on for the win.

“Yeah, last year I had a 4-shot lead and lost,” he said. “But coming into this year, I just thought to keep that out of my head but also use it as motivation this week.”

Derek Bayley of Rathdrum, Idaho, playing in the final group with Highsmith, had cut Joe’s lead to one stroke after 15 holes.

“I made a good par on 17, a tough par-3, while Derek bogeyed it, and gave myself a two-shot cushion,” Highsmith said. Both players then birdied the final hole.

Highsmith, who was named the 2016 WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year, has had a great season so far this year. Along with today’s title, he has won the individual (and team) WIAA 4A High School State Championship in the spring, and then qualified for last month’s U.S. Junior Amateur, making it to the Round of 32 before bowing to eventual champion Noah Goodwin. He has verbally committed to attend Pepperdine University in southern California in 2018.

Bayley finished second, two shots behind Highsmith. It was Bayley who made it to the playoff in last year’s championship, but eventually fell in a marathon 6-hole playoff. He now has finished second in this championship for the second year in a row. Last month, the rising senior at Washington State University finished runner-up in the PNGA Men’s Amateur.

Finishing 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 round of the day came from Andrew Whalen of Ephrata, Wash. The recent Northwestern University graduate shot a course and tournament record 7-under 64, breaking the record of 6-under that Highsmith had set just 24 hours previously, in yesterday’s second round.

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.

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.

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.