DuPont, Wash. – Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. eagled the final hole to tie for the lead and then defeated Paul Mitzel of Quincy, Wash. on the first playoff hole to win the 13th Washington Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
This is the third title for Brandes in this championship, having previously won it in 2012 and 2015.
The 36-hole stroke-play championship was held at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. and conducted by Washington Golf (WA Golf).
Standing on the tee of the par-4 18th in today’s final round, Brandes trailed Mitzel by two shots. The two were paired in the final group, having tied for the lead after yesterday’s first round, with both shooting 5-under 67. After their tee shots on 18, and from the middle of the fairway, Brandes pulled out a 6-iron, then switched to a 7-iron, and then holed the shot for a stunning eagle to tie Mitzel for the lead and force a playoff.
Brandes and Mitzel then went to the first hole for the playoff, and Brandes promptly birdied it to take home the title.
“It feels good to win,” Brandes said afterward. “I really hadn’t played since May, so I entered this (championship) really just to play in something.”
In describing his improbably eagle on the final hole, Brandes said, “I didn’t know exactly where I stood against Paul. I figured he had it won, so I was just kind of fighting for every shot. I was 180 yards out, and originally pulled out a 6-iron, but I felt a gust of wind, and I said to myself, ‘The greens are dried out, and the pin is way in the back, and you don’t want to go long.’ I flushed the 7-iron, saw it land and roll toward the hole. I didn’t see it go in (because of the contour of the green), but I heard all the guys by the green yell. It was pretty fun.”
In today’s final round, Brandes wore the same shirt he wore when he won this title in 2015.
This is the second state title for Brandes this year, having also won the Washington Senior Men’s Champion of Champions, which was also held at The Home Course. He has been named the WA Golf Senior Men’s Player of the Year 11 times, and in 2015 was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame.
Mitzel had been trying for his first individual state title, having previously won the 2021 Washington Mixed Chapman and the 2022 Washington Men’s Four-Ball, both with other playing partners.
Brian Moon of Lynnwood had the round of the day going. After an even-par 72 in yesterday’s first round, he was 6-under after 15 holes in today’s round, and had come roaring back to catch Mitzel and tie for the lead, but a disastrous triple-bogey seven on the par-4 17th ended his run, and he finished tied for third, three shots back.
Also finishing tied for third is Johnny Carey of Seattle and Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho. Hatley had previously won this championship twice, in 2016 and 2018, and had tied for fourth last year.
To be eligible, contestants must be 25 years of age or older by July 20, 2022. Competitors must have an active GHIN number and USGA Handicap Index issued by a WA Golf member club not exceeding 9.9 at the time of entry.
The Washington Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship is one of 14 statewide championships conducted annually by WA Golf.
About The Home Course
The Home Course is co-operatively owned and operated by WA Golf and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. The par-72 layout opened in 2007 and has already been the site of numerous local, regional and national championships, including the 2010 U.S. Amateur (serving as stroke-play co-host) and the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links; the 2022 Northwest Open Invitational, which it will also host in 2023 and 2024; and in 2023 will be the site of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. Visit TheHomeCourse.com for information.
About Washington Golf
Founded in 1922, WA Golf is celebrating its centennial in 2022. It is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving 80,000 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. Visit WAgolf.org for information.
On July 19, Mike Hughett won the Oklahoma Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at the age of 63. His win sparked the question by AmateurGolf.com: is he the oldest player to win a state mid-amateur? Other contenders were Dave Szewczul, who won the Connecticut Mid-Amateur at age 62 and the Connecticut Public Links at age 63. Last year, Gene Elliott won the Iowa Mid-Amateur at age 59 and Bob Royak won the Georgia Mid-Amateur at age 59.
One day later, on July 20, Brandes won the Washington Men’s Mid-Amateur, and was just one month shy of his 66th birthday. The once and future (and present) king.