Bremerton, Wash. – RJ Manke of Lakewood and John Sand of Hoquiam both shot 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead after the first round of the historic 100th Washington Men’s Amateur Championship, being held this week on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.
The championship consists of 54 holes of stroke play, with the full field of 120 players cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes. The three-day championship is being conducted by Washington Golf (WA Golf).
“I’ve just always loved this golf course,” Manke said after his bogey-free round. “I played it a lot growing up. It just feels like home playing here. My iron game has been good lately, so I was able to capitalize on that and make some putts.”
Manke won the 2018 Washington Men’s Amateur. The last time a player won more than one title in this championship was when Don Scott won back-to-back titles in 1968-1969.
Manke, who attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, played four years on the Pepperdine University men’s golf team which recently won the NCAA National Championship. He has just transferred to the University of Washington, where he will play for the men’s golf team in the fall in his final year of eligibility.
Sand was runner-up in the 2019 Washington Men’s Amateur, losing in a playoff to champion Reid Hatley. Sand won the 2016 Washington Men’s Champion of Champions.
Sitting one shot back of Manke and Sand is Spencer Clapp of Federal Way, whose 5-under 67 included a 31 on the front nine. “I definitely made a lot of putts today,” Clapp said after the round. “My playing partners were joking that I made a total of about 200 feet of putts on the first eight holes. I seemed to be canning everything.”
After the fog delayed today’s starting times by one hour, Clapp teed off at 10:10 and posted his 67 before Manke and Sand finished, giving them something to shoot for.
Clapp played golf while at Decatur High School in Federal Way, so has played many competitive rounds at Gold Mountain. After high school Clapp played four years on the men’s golf team at Sonoma State University (Calif.), graduating in 2019. He tied for ninth in last year’s Washington Men’s Amateur.
Hatley sits tied for fourth after an opening round of 71.
Only nine players broke par in today’s opening round on the 6,988-yard par-72 Olympic Course.
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.
About the 100th Washington Men’s Amateur Championship
The Washington Men’s Amateur is the longest-running continuously-held golf championship in the state. Its illustrious history traces the arc and the growth of the state’s golf community. Past champions include Fred Couples, Joel Dahmen, Alex Prugh, Brock Mackenzie, Kermit Zarley, John Bodenhamer, and Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famers Al Mengert, Bud Ward, Jack Westland and Harry Givan, among many others. A history of the championship can be found here.
About Gold Mountain Golf Club
Owned by the city of Bremerton, Gold Mountain Golf Club is one of the top municipal golf facilities in the country, consisting of two championship layouts, the Cascade Course and Olympic Course. Opened in 1996, the Olympic Course was designed by Northwest architect John Harbottle III. It has hosted numerous regional and national championships, including the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links, and the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, won by Jordan Spieth. This is the third time the Olympic Course has hosted the Washington Men’s Amateur, with it previously being held there in 1997 and 2007.
About Washington Golf
Founded in 1922, WA Golf is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving more than 75,000 individual members at more than 550 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, WA Golf works to continually expand the game of golf to people of all backgrounds and abilities.
WA Golf also serves as a statewide representative of the United States Golf Association and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.