In today’s qualifying round for the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball championships, the team of Mark Strickland and Christopher Hatch, both of Mukilteo, Wash., took medalist honors in the men’s qualifying by finishing with an 8-under par 64, while Erik Heggelund and Casey Granston, both of Seattle, also advanced; and Kelly Gardner of Gig Harbor, Wash. and Kim Titus of Anacortes, Wash. took the top spot in qualifying for the women’s championship, while Shawn Farmer of Bellevue, Wash. and Christina Proteau of Port Alberni, B.C. also qualified.
The two qualifiers were conducted over 18 holes and were held concurrently on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.
The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) is the local representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and conducted these qualifiers for the U.S. Amateur and Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championships.
Strickland and Hatch are teammates on the Western Washington University men’s golf team. Strickland is a senior who was named a second-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star and recently competed in the U.S. Amateur, while Hatch played in the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Heggelund and Granston, who finished at 5-under par 67, survived a 5-team playoff for the final qualifying spot with a birdie on the first playoff hole (the par-4 10th).
Titus and Gardner lapped the field in posting a 6-under par 66, a round which included four birdies on the front side and Titus making an eagle on the par-5 14th hole. There were no bogeys on their card. Earlier this year, Titus and Gardner had won the Washington State Women’s Four-Ball Championship. This is the first USGA championship for both of them.
Last week, Farmer won the Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. The 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be her fifth USGA championship, having previously played in the 2011-13 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team. Proteau has played in the 2012-13 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and has qualified to play in the upcoming 2014 championship. She won the 2013 Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur and BC Women’s Mid-Amateur, and was named the 2013 PNGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year.
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will be held May 2-6, 2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be held May 9-13, 2015 on the Pacific Dunes course at Bandon (Ore.) Dunes Golf Resort.
The format of each championship calls for two-player teams, with each competitor playing their own ball throughout the round. Each team’s score will be determined using their better-ball score for each hole. Entries for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball were open to players who have a Handicap Index not exceeding 14.4, with the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball being open to players with a Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4. There is no age restriction in either championship. Team partners are not required to be from the same club, state or country, and substitution of partners was permitted until the close of entries.
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball are two of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.