Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. held on in the final holes to win the 6th Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, while Amanda Jacobs of Seattle went wire-to-wire to win the 6th Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur.
The two 36-hole stroke-play championships were held concurrently at Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton, Wash., and were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA).
Visit Men’s Mid-Amateur or Women’s Mid-Amateur for complete final results of both championships. Stay connected on social media by following @WSGAChampions on Twitter and use the hashtags #WSGAMensMidAm and #WSGAWomensMidAm.
After 12 holes in today’s final round of the Men’s Mid-Amateur, Brandes had a 7-shot lead over Erik Hanson of Kirkland, Wash. But then Brandes bogeyed the long, uphill par-4 13th and followed that with a nearly-disastrous triple-bogey on the par-4 14th in which he put his tee shot out of bounds, which brought the field back into contention. After Hanson birdied holes 16 and 17, Brandes’ lead was down to a single shot as the two players, paired together in the championship’s final group, played the par-5 18th hole. Both players had a chance at birdie on the final green, and when Brandes’ attempt slid by the hole, he watched as Hanson’s 15-foot birdie try slid past on the low side, securing the victory for Brandes.
After having the championship pretty much in hand early on, Brandes replied when asked at what point did he know he wasn’t going to run away with it. “When I made a seven,” he said with a laugh. “I had a triple-bogey on 14, and Erik to his credit made a couple birdies coming down the stretch, and it was just a battle. Winning is just never easy. I opened the door for Erik, and Erik being the player he is took advantage of it, and I had to dig pretty deep to win this thing.”
Of the birdie attempts on the final green, Brandes said, “I felt I had to make mine to win, because I’ve played a lot of golf with Erik and he’s a gamer, so I had to assume he was going to make his putt.”
Brandes also won this championship in 2012.
Last year Brandes was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame. He has been named the WSGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year the past five consecutive years (2010-2014), as well as earning the 2012 WSGA Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year award.
Earlier this summer, Hanson, the former big-league pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, won the Seattle Amateur as well as the Pacific Northwest Men’s Master-40 Championship.
Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho finished alone in third place, two shots back of Brandes. In last year’s championship, Hatley finished runner-up, losing in a playoff to champion Tom Hale of Lakewood, Wash. Hale had to withdraw midway through this year’s championship due to a back problem.
In the Women’s Mid-Amateur, Jacobs began today’s final round with a slim one-shot lead over defending champion Shawn Farmer of Bellevue. But Farmer got off to a slow start this morning, going 6-over par on the first five holes, while Jacobs played steady, particularly on the back nine when Farmer pulled even with her with a birdie on the par-4 13th. Jacobs held on to a one-shot lead going into the final hole and won the championship with a par.
Jacobs was paired in today’s final group with Farmer and Leslie Folsom of Tukwila, Wash., who will be her teammates representing Washington in the upcoming USGA Women’s State Team Championship, being held September 10-12 at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
“It’s always fun playing with them,” Jacobs said. “We always have a great time on the course. I think we had our issues with the trees today. Any one of us had a shot at winning today, so it was nice to come out on top.”
When asked about her course management in today’s final round, Jacobs said, “A couple months ago, Edean (Ihlanfeldt, Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famer) told me ‘Just because you can hit it far doesn’t mean you have to,’ so today I took that approach on the back nine and never took out a driver, and just wanted to hit fairways because that makes life a lot easier.”
Jacobs did not play in last year’s Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur because of a scheduling conflict, but she did win the 2014 Pacific Northwest Women’s Mid-Amateur, on her way to being named the 2014 WSGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year.
Finishing in third, three shots back of Jacobs, was Folsom, a two-time winner of this championship (2012, 2013). Folsom finished runner-up in last year’s championship.