Walla Walla, Wash. – Christian “Pono” Yanagi shot a 9-under 63 in today’s second round take one shot lead going into the final round of 102nd Washington Men’s Amateur, hosted this week at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla.
The championship consists of 54 holes of stroke play. The full field of 120 players has been cut to the low 60 players and ties after today’s round.
With temperatures rising above 90 degrees this afternoon, Yanagi embraced the heat and torched the golf course with nine birdies during an impressive bogey-free round. He had a chance to get it to double digits after he hit the green in two on the par-5 18th, but narrowly missed a lengthy eagle putt.
“The putts were dropping today,” said Yanagi, “yesterday I kind of struggled with that, but I tried to keep giving myself an opportunity, and fortunately today they dropped.”
Originally from Hawaii, Yanagi plays on the Washington State University men’s golf team, he’ll be returning there in the fall for a final season. He credited the team’s home course, Palouse Ridge, for helping to prepare him for the style of play needed for success at Wine Valley.
🚨 NEW LEADER 🚨
Christian “Pono” Yanagi fires a 9-under 63 to grab a one shot lead after two rounds at the Washington Men’s Am.
— Washington Golf (WA Golf) (@PlayWAGolf) June 29, 2023
Yanagi will be paired in the final group tomorrow, going off at 10:40am, with Preston Bebich of Gig Harbor and Dane Huddleston of Woodland. Bebich is a rising senior on the Washington State University men’s golf team. Huddleston just graduated high-school, and is set to play college golf at Utah Valley University beginning in the fall.
Defending champion Jace Minni of Delta, B.C. shot a 1-under 71 today, including going 3-under on his back-nine, to move to 3-over par for the championship. He firmly made the cut which fell at 6-over par.
Tee times for tomorrow’s final round begin at 7:00am, with the final group teeing off at 10:40am.
The Washington Men’s Amateur is the longest-running continuously-held golf championship in the state. Its illustrious history traces the arc and the growth of the state’s golf community. Past champions include Fred Couples, Joel Dahmen, Alex Prugh, Brock Mackenzie, Kermit Zarley and John Bodenhamer, among many others. Complete information and full list of past champions can be found here.
About Wine Valley Golf Club
Designed by Northwest native Dan Hixson and opened in 2009, Wine Valley Golf Club has already been the site of numerous tournaments and championships, including the 2012 and 2016 PNGA Men’s Amateur, the 2013 PNGA Women’s Amateur, numerous USGA qualifiers, and from 2010-2021 was the site of the PGA Section’s Northwest Open Invitational. Wine Valley has previously hosted the Washington Men’s Amateur in 2014.