The strongest field to date in the 87 years of the Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship is set to tee off tomorrow at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. The championship will be held June 18-20, and is conducted by the Washington State Golf Association. The first tee time tomorrow is set for 7:30am. Watch the preview here.
Past champions in the field include Alex Stamey (2002) of Mill Creek, Wash. and Jeremy Wendelken (2010) of Kirkland, Wash. Rick Garber of Kirkland won the title in 1985, and although he is not playing in this championship, he will be following his son, Frank Garber, who was exempted into this year’s championship after being selected the 2012 WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year.
Other players to watch are Sean McMullen of Kent, Wash. who led the Oregon Open last week going into the final round before settling for a tie for eighth; Cameron Peck of Olympia, who won the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and now stars for the Texas A&M golf team; Tom Brandes of Bellevue, the 2012 WSGA Men’s Mid-Amateur and Senior Player of the Year; Mike Haack of Bellevue, the 2010 Washington State Mid-Amateur champion; and Dan Whitaker of Ellensburg, Wash. who was runner-up in the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Also in the field are three University of Washington players, Tyler Salsbury, Kyle Bowser and Chris Babcock.
The size of the field in the championship is 120 players, 43 of which earned exemption into the championship based on criteria previously set forth. The remainder of the field was filled with players qualifying at two qualifying sites. The West qualifier was held June 5 at Gold Mountain GC in Bremerton, and the East qualifier was held June 6 at Wine Valley GC in Walla Walla.
The format for the championship calls for 54-holes of stroke play, with a cut to the top 60 and ties after 36 holes.
The state’s premier amateur championship traditionally attracts the region’s finest players. Last year’s champion was Chris Williams, who dominated the field in winning by 10 strokes on the Eagles Pride Golf Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Williams, from Moscow, Idaho and who just finished his senior on the University of Washington men’s golf team, is currently the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, according the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He is the 2012 WSGA Men’s Player of the Year, a title he also won in 2011.
Past champions of the Washington State Men’s Amateur include Fred Couples, Alex Prugh, Brock Mackenzie, Kermit Zarley, John Bodenhamer, and PNGA Hall of Famers Al Mengert, Bud Ward, Jack Westland and Harry Givan.
Fresh off hosting the U.S. Amateur in 2010, Chambers Bay will serve as the venue for the 115th U.S. Open from June 18-21, 2015, marking the first time the U.S. Open will be held in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington State Men’s Amateur will be the first WSGA championship held at Chambers Bay.
“What’s unique about Chambers Bay is that it will do as good a job as any course of identifying the best players,” said Matt Allen, general manager at Chambers Bay. “It’s imminently fair and playable, because there are no forced carries or trees, and yet the layout is such that it can be set up to host a U.S. Amateur and a U.S. Open.”
Designed by Robert Trent Jones II and opened for play in 2007, Chambers Bay provides unparalleled views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and an unrivaled, Scottish-style environment that tests the player’s imagination and shot-making. The 7,585 yard, par 72 layout, located just outside Tacoma and only 35 minutes from Seattle, sits among windswept dunes and native fescue grasses, demanding creativity and strategy, as each player must play to his or her strengths.
“With all the new changes in preparation for the Open, Chambers Bay was really excited to host this championship and see what the golf course can do,” said Scotty Crouthamel, WSGA Senior Director of Rules and Competition.