Sean Kato pads lead at 94th Washington Men's Amateur

Sean Kato of Redmond, Wash. shot 3-under par 69 in today’s second round to add to his lead in the 94th Washington Men’s Amateur Championship, being held this week at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

Sean Kato
Sean Kato hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during round two.

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Kato fired a 7-under 65 in yesterday’s first round, and now sits at a combined 10-under par and has a five-shot lead going into tomorrow’s third and final round.

Kato, a rising junior on the Oregon State University golf team, started today’s round a little shaky, with three bogeys and two birdies for a 1-over par 37 on the front nine, bringing the rest of the field back into play. But he steadied himself on the back nine, pouring in birdies on holes 12, 13, 16 and 18.

“Today wasn’t as easy as yesterday,” Kato said after his round. “I got off to a rough start. I was standing in the eighth fairway, was 2-over for the day, and I said I got to get things going.” He would birdie the par-5 eighth, going five-under par for the remainder of the round.

Kato won the 2017 Washington State Junior Championship, and led his Redmond High School squad to the 2017 4A State Championship. He was selected for Team Washington in the Junior Americas Cup for three years, leading the team to the title in 2016.

Sitting in second place, five shots back of Kato, is Brian Humphreys of Vancouver, Wash. The senior at Boise State University followed up yesterday’s 2-under 70 with a solid 69.

Brian Humphreys
Brian Humphreys hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during round two.

The round of the day came from Nick Robinson of Freeland, Wash. who fired a 5-under par 67 to vault into solo third place, six shots back of Kato. Robinson bogeyed his first hole of the day, then went on a tear, with five birdies on the front nine and two more on the back.

Also jumping up the leaderboard is Nathan Cogswell of Kent, Wash., who shot 4-under 68 to sit tied for fourth with Jared Beals of Enumclaw, a senior on the Pacific Lutheran University men’s golf team.

Cogswell, a rising junior on the Seattle University men’s golf team, double-bogeyed his first hole today and finished his front nine at 3-over 39 and in danger of being an afterthought in the championship. But he caught fire on the back nine, with birdies on five consecutive holes starting with the short par-4 12th. He topped it off with an eagle on the par-5 18th, the second day in a row he has eagled that hole, shooting 7-under 29 on the back nine.

Spencer Clapp of Federal Way also shot 68 in today’s round which, after yesterday’s 75, put him in the top 10 heading into the final round. Clapp was a co-medalist in one of the qualifying rounds to make it into this championship. He is a recent graduate of Sonoma State University (in Calif.), where he played on the men’s golf team.

The field has now been cut to the low 60 players and ties, who will tee off Thursday, August 13, for the third and final round of the championship, which is being conducted by Washington Golf (WA Golf).

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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.

Founded in 1922, the WA Golf is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving nearly 70,000 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.

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.