The first round of the 7th Annual WSGA Champion of Champions, conducted by the Washington State Golf Association, will tee off on Tuesday, April 26 at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., kicking off the 2016 championship season.
The championship will be played over 36 holes of stroke play on April 26 and 27. This year’s field consists of 144 champions from around the state of Washington, competing in four divisions – Men, Senior Men, Women and Senior Women. It is the largest and strongest field to ever compete in the championship.
Among the players competing in the men’s division are Sam Warkentin of Bainbridge Island, Wash., who was named the WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015, and will be playing for the University of Washington starting in the fall of 2016; Tyler Matthews of Bellevue, the former Inglemoor High School standout who won the 2004 KingCo 4A Conference title, the 2009 PNGA Men’s Amateur, and is the two-time defending champion of the WSGA Men’s Best-Ball; and Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho, who earned 2015 Men’s Mid-Amateur Player honors for both the WSGA and Pacific Northwest Golf Association, and has already qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball.
The 2015 Senior Men’s champion Pete Higgins of Mercer Island returns this year to defend his title. Other past champions in the field are Tom Brandes (2012) of Bellevue and Keith Crimp (2013, 2014) of Ellensburg. In the Men’s division, other past champions in the field are Sean Packer (2012) of Seattle and Bjorn Bjorke (2009) of Port Orchard.
Leslie Folsom of Tukwila will be trying for her third consecutive title in the Women’s division, and Karen Madison of East Wenatchee returns to defend her title in the Senior Women’s division. Other past champions in the field include Lisa Smego(2014) of Olympia (Senior Women’s), Yasue Alkins (2012) of Steilacoom, Alison Murdoch (2010) of Victoria, B.C., and Denise Kieffer (2009) of University Place, Wash.
The championship marks the beginning of the WSGA championship season and is hosted annually by The Home Course, which is cooperatively owned and operated by the Washington State Golf Association and Pacific Northwest Golf Association, and has been the site of numerous local, regional and national championships, including being the companion course to Chambers Bay for the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the venue for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links.
To be eligible to compete in the Champion of Champions, a player must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- 2014 or 2015 Club Champion or Senior Club Champion of a WSGA member club
- 2015 champion of a WSGA Championship (excludes all team championships)
- Top-10 on the WSGA Men’s Performance Points List as of December 31, 2015
- Top-5 on the WSGA Women’s Performance Points List as of December 31, 2015
- Top-5 on the WSGA Senior Men’s Performance Points List as of December 31, 2015
- Top-5 on the WSGA Senior Women’s Performance Points List as of December 31, 2015
- 2015 WJGA State Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Champion
- 2015 champion of any event on the WSGA Men’s, Women’s, Senior Men’s, or Senior Women’s Performance Points List.
The Champion of Champions is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the WSGA.