Tom Hale of Lakewood, Wash. birdied the second hole of a playoff to claim the titlein the 5th Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, while Shawn Farmer held on in the final round to win the 5th Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur. The two 36-hole championships were held concurrently at the RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood, Wash., and were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association.
Hale, playing the championship on his home course at Oakbrook, birdied the par-4 17th hole and then sunk an 8-foot putt on the long par-4 18th to save par and force the playoff.
Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho, playing in the final group with Hale, 3-putted the final green from the fringe to bogey the hole and fall into the playoff with Hale.
After exchanging pars on the first playoff hole, Hatley went for the green on the second playoff hole, the par-5 ninth at Oakbrook, landing in a greenside bunker. Hale laid up with his second shot, then put his approach to four feet, and when Hatley couldn’t get up and down from the bunker for his birdie, Hale knocked in his four-footer for birdie and the title.
“It was nice that (this championship) was on my home track,” said Hale. “A little course knowledge helps.” Hale, who had qualified for the 2013 U.S. Senior Open, used that course knowledge in the playoff. “I played (the second playoff hole) the way I always play it,” he continued. “I know I can’t reach the green in two from the back tees. Reid went for it and hit a great second shot – I don’t either of us missed a shot in the playoff – but he unfortunately ended up in the bunker.”
Tyler Matthews of Bellevue, Wash. made a bogey on the 18th hole, when a par would have put him in the playoff as well.
Farmer started the day tied with Ginny Burkey of Fircrest, Wash. Paired in the final group together, it was Burkey who seemed to have the championship in hand in the early going, carding an even-par 36 on the front nine. “She was playing phenomenal right out of the gate today,” Farmer said of Burkey. “Even though I was a couple strokes back at the turn, I just tried to be patient and not get ahead of myself, to not get rushed. I just hung around in the back (nine) to see what I could do.”
Farmer, who had been selected to represent Washington in the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team Championhip, leapfrogged over Burkey when she birdied the par-4 10th hole and Burkey double-bogeyed it. Burkey would struggle to a 10-over par 45 on the back nine, while Farmer also struggled, shooting three double-bogeys in the last seven holes. She hung on for a two shot victory over Leslie Folsom of Tukwila, Wash. Folsom was attempting to win the championship for the third consecutive year, having won in 2012 and 2013, and carded a second-round 77 to claim second place, with Burkey finishing in third place, four shots behind Farmer.
“I’m kind of surprised,” Farmer said of today’s victory. “It’s been a while, maybe since 2004, since I’ve been able to put a tournament together, to get a win.”
Champions of these two events earn an exemption into the 6th Annual WSGA Champion of Champions, which will be held at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. in April of 2015.