Tyler Matthews and Matthew Steele, both of Bellevue, Wash., successfully defended their title by winning the 59th Washington State Men’s Best-Ball Championship; while Chris DeGrazia of Lynnwood and Mike Hickok of Kirkland posted rounds of 64-67 for a 15-under-par total of 131 and a 1-stroke victory in the 22nd Senior Men’s Best-Ball.
Both 36-hole championships were held concurrently at Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore, Wash. and were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association.
Matthews and Steele set the early pace in the first round of the championship, combining for an 8-under par 65 on the par-73 layout, which would turn out to be the low round of the event. They followed it up with a solid 4-under par 69, good enough for a 3-shot victory over second place finishers Britten Barker of Tacoma and Matt Harnish of Gig Harbor.
“It felt good to get off to a good start again this year,” said Matthews. “We play a lot of golf together, so we know how the other guy plays.” Added Steele, “Yes, we help each other a lot, sometimes with club selection, because we know each other’s games so well.” The pair had won last year’s Best-Ball Championship as well, held at White Horse Golf Club in Kingston, Wash. The last team to defend their title in this championship was Tom Brandes and Alex Stamey, who won back-to-back titles in 2006-07.
Net champions in this year’s Men’s Best-Ball are John Moscrip of Issaquah and Grant Hartvigson of Seattle, who posted net rounds of 68-62 for a 16-under-par 130.
This was the second Senior Men’s Best-Ball title for DeGrazia and Hickok as a team, having previously won the championship in 2013. DeGrazia birdied the par-4 17th for what they thought was a 2-shot cushion, ahead of eventual second-place finishers Steve MacGeorge of Shoreline, Wash. and Tom Boe of Renton, who had come roaring back into contention by firing a final round 7-under 66. “But Chris’ birdie there (on 17) gave us only the one shot lead,” said Hickok. It was the second day in a row that the team had birdied the hole.
The duo have paired together in many best-balls over the years. “We’ve been playing in these best-balls all over the area,” said DeGrazia. “Probably 25 years or so. I think we’ve won 10 or 12 of them. We play well together. Mike’s a great partner.” DeGrazia and Hickok also won the Men’s Best-Ball title in 2009.
Gary Gove of Kenmore and Larry Hartvigson of Kirkland posted net rounds of 64-62 for a 20-under-par 126 to claim the Senior net title.
The shot of the day was made by Brandon Agnew of Snohomish, Wash. who made a double-eagle 2 on the uphill par-5 second hole.
The format for the championship was a 36-hole Four-Ball stroke play (gross and net).
The Washington State Men’s Best-Ball Championship was previously known as the Inglewood Best-Ball from 1956 until 1993, when in 1994 the WSGA began to run the event and introduced the Senior Men’s Championship. The championship has not been played at Inglewood Golf Club since 2003, when Rob Matson and David Fern won the men’s championship, while Al Reinikka and Fred Urquhart were senior champions.
Inglewood Golf Club was established in 1919 at the north end of Lake Washington and was designed by renowned golf course architect and Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame member A.V. Macan. The club has a rich history of hosting competitive amateur golf, including the Washington State Men’s and Women’s Amateur Championships, and the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship.