Manke makes history in winning 100th Washington Men’s Amateur
Bremerton, Wash. – RJ Manke of Lakewood shot rounds of 66-67-68 to win the historic 100th Washington Men’s Amateur Championship in commanding fashion, finishing seven shots clear of the rest of the field.
Manke also won this championship in 2018. He is the first multiple champion in 52 years. Not since Don Scott won back-to-back titles in 1968-1969 had any player won this championship more than once.
The championship was held this week on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. The three-day championship was conducted by Washington Golf (WA Golf).
After the first round, Manke was tied for the lead with John Sand of Hoquiam. Manke took a solo lead after the second round, carrying a 4-shot lead into today’s final round.
“My goal before we started (today’s final round) was to get to 15-under,” he said after his round. “On 18 I had a choice to go for (the green) or lay up, and I needed a birdie to reach my goal, so luckily I worked it out.”
In drawing from his experience in winning this title in 2018, Manke said, “Having that ‘final group’ experience is pretty big. To go down the stretch with Brian Mogg and Michael Almonte back in 2018 just gave me more experience to go out there today.”
After the win, when told how rare it is to win this championship more than once, Manke took a moment to take in what he had just accomplished. “To be back in my home state, for this to be my second title and have it be the 100th at that, to have my name on the trophy two times with some of the greatest players in Washington feels pretty awesome.”
Manke attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, then played four years on the Pepperdine University men’s golf team which recently won the 2021 NCAA National Championship. He has just transferred to the University of Washington, where he will play for the men’s golf team in the fall in his final year of eligibility.
Finishing second, seven shots back of Manke, was Jordan Lee of Auburn. Lee vaulted up the leaderboard in today’s final round by shooting a 9-under-par 63, the low round of the championship and a new course record on the Olympic Course. Lee, a rising junior on the Western Washington University men’s golf team, shot a 6-under-par 30 on today’s back nine, which included a bogey on the par-4 13th and an eagle on the par-4 18th.
Sand finished in third place, nine shots back of Manke. Sand was runner-up in the 2019 Washington Men’s Amateur, losing in a playoff to champion Reid Hatley.
Finishing fourth, 11 shots back of Manke, was Chuan-Tai “Teddy” Lin. Manke and Lin were paired together all three rounds of the championship, and will be teammates in the fall at the University of Washington.
Only six players finished under par after 54 holes on the 6,939-yard par-72 Olympic Course.
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.
About the 100th Washington Men’s Amateur Championship
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, John Bodenhamer, and Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famers Al Mengert, Bud Ward, Jack Westland and Harry Givan, among many others. A history of the championship can be found here.
About Gold Mountain Golf Club
Owned by the city of Bremerton, Gold Mountain Golf Club is one of the top municipal golf facilities in the country, consisting of two championship layouts, the Cascade Course and Olympic Course. Opened in 1996, the Olympic Course was designed by Northwest architect John Harbottle III. It has hosted numerous regional and national championships, including the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links, and the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, won by Jordan Spieth. This is the third time the Olympic Course has hosted the Washington Men’s Amateur, with it previously being held there in 1997 and 2007.
About Washington Golf
Founded in 1922, WA Golf is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving more than 75,000 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 and abilities.
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.