WSGA Senior Men’s Best-Ball Championship

Championship Links:

Austin Beatty of Mill Creek, Wash. and Luke Bakke of Seattle pulled away from the field with rounds of 68-61 to win the 62nd Washington State Men’s Best-Ball Championship; while Brian Shanks of Edmonds and Mike Blade of Mount Vernon held on to their early lead to post scores of 64-70 and win the 25th Washington State Senior Men’s Best-Ball.

L to R: Austin Beatty, Luke Bakke, Mike Blade and Brian Shanks

The two championships were held concurrently at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. and were conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA). A total of 95 two-man teams competed in the two championships, which were held in a four-ball stroke-play format.

In today’s final round, Beatty and Bakke fired the low round of the Men’s championship, an 11-under 61 on the par-72 layout, which catapulted them over several other teams. They began the day tied for 11th. Bakke contributed four birdies in today’s front nine, six birdies overall, while Beatty contributed three birdies as well as an eagle on the par-5 15th hole.

“It feels awesome,” they both said after the win.

“We hadn’t been playing a lot of tournament golf,” Bakke said. “So today we just kind of let it go, decided to have fun, and let it go.”

Added Beatty, “Yes, we weren’t relaxed yesterday, and were taking it a little too seriously, and today we both said to each other, ‘c’mon, let’s go, let’s play our game.’”

Neither player knew where they stood coming down the back nine today. “We felt maybe 15 or 16 (under) might win, but we really didn’t know what the other teams were doing,” said Bakke. They finished at 15-under, winning by two shots over second-place finishers Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho and Ryan Camp of Spokane.

Bakke had tried to play professionally for a few years from 2006-2010, competing on various mini-tours, before regaining his amateur status. Beatty played golf collegiately at the University of Nevada-Reno, and in 2015 won the Chambers Bay Hickory Open playing with hickory equipment.

Beatty and Bakke both play out of Mill Creek (Wash.) Country Club. This is the first team title for the two of them.

In the Senior Men’s Best-Ball, Shanks and Blade had a two-shot lead after yesterday’s first round, and played even-par after nine holes in today’s final round to maintain that two-shot lead. But when the team of George White and Scott Alford, playing ahead of Shanks and Blade, posted scores of 69-67 to grab a tie for the lead, Shanks and Blade came home with four birdies against a double-bogey on the back nine to finish at 70 for the day and grab the two-shot victory over White and Alford who tied for second with the duo of Steve Zalewski and Kim Hubbart.

“I think we really ham and egged it real well,” said Brian. “We both contributed really well to making this thing happen.”

There were 22 teams within nine shots on the crowded leaderboard of the Senior Men’s Best-Ball.

The Washington State Men’s Best-Ball Championship was previously known as the Inglewood Best-Ball from 1956 until 1993, when in 1994 the WSGA began to run the event and introduced the Senior Men’s Best-Ball.

The Men’s and Senior Men’s Best-Ball are two of 15 championships conducted annually by the WSGA.

Founded in 1922, the WSGA is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving nearly 70,000 individual members at more than 550 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, the WSGA works to continually expand the game of golf to people of all backgrounds.

The WSGA also serves as a statewide representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.

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