WOODBURN, ORE (June 13, 2005) -- The Oregon Amateur Championship, the most prestigious amateur championship in the state, begins Monday, June 20 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Witch Hollow) in North Plains, Ore. with the first of two 18-hole rounds of stroke play qualifying. This year marks the 96th occurrence of the event that is often an important stepping stone for those amateur golfers wishing to advance their playing careers to the professional ranks.
After Tuesday's second round of stroke play, the field will be cut to the low 64 men and 32 women who advance to the match play portion of the contest. Single-elimination matches ensue with the Championship culminating with the final two men and women squaring off in a 36-hole final match on Saturday, June 25.
"This year's field is one of the strongest ever staged among the Men," opined Jamie Sumner, OGA Director of Competitions and Rules. The Men's field is comprised of 109 golfers, including five past champions, with handicap indexes ranging from a +3.9 to .9. The Women's field consists of 47 golfers including five past champions, with handicap indexes ranging from a +3.0 to 13.0. A plus (+) handicap index denotes a player that typically posts a score that is under par. Last year's champions, Chandler Cocco of Bend (Bend Golf & CC; St. Mary's College) and Alexandra Lee of Lake Oswego (Oregon Golf Club; New Mexico State University) will defend their respective titles.
Sumner noted, "this year's field is also one of the largest in recent history for women." A number of respected college players are expected to contend in the Women's field including 2001 State Junior Champion, Johnna Nealy (Oregon) and 2002 State Junior Champion, Kristen Svicarovich (Vanderbilt) both of who recently competed at the NCAA Championship as well as last year's medalist and 2002 Oregon Amateur Champion Kailin Downs (University of New Mexico), Meredith Jones (Baylor), Sarah Tiller and Ashley Anast (Portland State) and Molly Edmunds and Ashley Williams (University of Portland).
Also vying for the Women's title is eight-time champion (1971-74 & 76-79) and 1972 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion, Mary Budke of Eugene, Ore. (Shadow Hills Country Club) and the 2004 Senior Amateur Champion and seven-time Oregon Amateur champion Marcia Fisher of Canby, Ore. (Willamette Valley Country Club), 2003 Oregon Mid-Amateur Champion Lara Tennant (Waverley Country Club), and two-time Oregon Amateur champion Charisse Spada of Portland (Columbia Edgewater Country Club).
Other collegiate favorites include Eugene's Meredith Jones (Eugene Country Club) and Hillboro's Kristen Svicarovich (The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club). Jones won three state titles at Marist High School before heading to Arizona State University. Jones has since transferred to Baylor University where she just finished her sophomore year. Svicarovich moved on to Vanderbilt University after winning the 2003 4A Oregon state title as a senior at Glencoe High School.
The Men's field is also laden with talented players looking to take Cocco's crown. After winning this year's OGA Tournament of Champions at Langdon Farms Golf Club, Portland's Jim Dunlap became an early favorite to contend on his home course along with past Oregon Amateur champion Gay Davis. Portland's Chris Maletis (Langdon Farms Golf Club), a three-time winner of the Oregon Senior Amateur and the winner of the prestigious 2004 Trans-Mississippi could also be in the hunt along with other past Oregon Amateur Champions including Portlanders Scott Hval and Randy Mahar of Portland and Cameron Martin of Eugene.
Collegiate player and coaching ranks are also well represented in the Men's field. Chris Dukeminier (Eugene Country Club; University of Oregon) who was last year's Men's Stroke Play Champion, the 2000 Junior Match Play Champion and recent honoree to the Pac-10 All Academic team will be joined by several of his Duck teammates including 2002 Oregon Amateur Champion Greggory LaVoie.
University of Portland Coach Bill Winter will tee it up with team members Joel Johnson and Kevin Beavers as will OSU Golf Coach Brian Watts and the entire OSU Golf Team including PAC-10 All Academic Team honoree Mitchell Gillis. They will be joined by young upstart Alex Williams of Vancouver, Wash. (Tri-Mountain GC), the 2003 Oregon State Junior Match Play Champion who also advanced at last month's U.S. Open Qualifier.
Spectators are welcome to view the action at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club as tee times begin at 7:15am Monday & Tuesday. Match Play begins each day at 7:00am. Those interested in following the action, but unable to attend, will find live leader boards at www.oga.org.